Strong Minds Move Toward the Unknown

December 20th, 2010 by LaRae Quy

Posted on Linked2Leadership on December 17th, 2010

Moving Toward the Unknown

We’ve expected politicians to provide the answers for so long that we’ve forgotten how to dig down and pull ourselves out of the trenches by own Gucci bootstraps. We elect them on the promise of change. But change is a two-edged sword. On the one side is hope; on the other is fear.

Leaders with a strong mind simply know how to keep calm and remain focused on their goal in the midst of change.

The good news? A strong mind is a learned skill.

So while we want change, we’re afraid of it, too. Why? Change can move us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. And this is what scares us about change—we don’t know the right way to go about it. So while change brings the promise of hope, it also brings the threat of fear.

Move Toward the Conflict

This is a lesson I learned from the FBI Academy about uncomfortable challenges and conflicts:

To increase safety, move toward them.

People with a strong mind simply know how to keep calm and remain focused on their goal in the midst of change.

This may sound counterintuitive since we often have a physiological reaction as our forehead starts to sweat and our stomach gets knotted. No one wants to step into a situation where the outcome is unknown.

A Strong Mind Is A Learned Skill

How can we become strong-minded individuals? Aristotle had it right 2,500 years ago when he said,

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

We learn skills, habits, and personal strengths. If a challenge is uncomfortable for you now, it doesn’t mean it will always be the case. Like learning how to swim or ride a bicycle, the skill will stay with you the rest of your life. Learning it takes time and a lot of repetition, however. If you keep moving away from an uncomfortable challenge, you will never develop the strong mind needed to overcome it.

It is possible to grow stronger by doing the right things consistently day after day. It may be clumsy and awkward at first, but it will become easier the more you do it.

Is there another option?

Oh yes—there is one, and its called avoidance.

We can always pretend the conflicts don’t exist or hope they’ll go away. Or, we can never explore our truest potential because we’re afraid of difficult and uncomfortable challenges.

If we’re to handle change effectively, we need to develop the strong mind that builds confidence in ourselves. In this way, we can accomplish our goals and overcome the difficult and unexpected obstacles that are presented by the unknown.


  • Name an uncomfortable challenge.
  • Identify the strengths and skills you need to successfully overcome it.
  • Develop those strengths and skills.

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” ~Harold Wilson

What changes are the most difficult for you? What advice can you offer to others who are in the middle of change? 

© 2010 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

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Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

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