Are you ‘fit’?
Most people would interpret this question as ‘Are you physically fit?’ and to answer it would then apply their paradigm about what they think that means.
They then set about comparing themselves with others and usually come up with “I’m not as fit as she or he is, so therefore I’m not fit”.
Someone may be perfectly fit and healthy but believe they are not because someone else, is in their opinion, ‘fitter’.
The question really is – are you and I suitably physically fit for whatever it is that we choose to do in life?
Are our bodies fit for the purpose we ask them to serve?
We often hear about products and services being ‘fit for purpose’ and most people understand what that means – does it do what it promises or purports to do?
Products, services and bodies may be fit for some purposes, but not for others.
‘Fitness’ is relative.
The thing is that, for us, for you and I, for people in general, ‘fitness’ is not just about physicality.
Someone may be ‘fit’ physically – but are they ‘fit to serve’ as President or Prime Minister?
A different question – which leads us to other forms of fitness.
There is a general understanding of what physical health means – it depends, but it may be good or bad.
However, when we start to talk about anyone’s ‘mental health’, the usual paradigm about this is an assumption that there is something wrong. That it is a ‘problem’ to be ‘dealt with’.
‘Mental health’ becomes a euphemism for ‘mental illness’.
It has a different vibration to talking about physical health.
And I’ve never heard of anyone talking about ‘mental fitness’ in the same way as we do physical fitness.
The idea of physical fitness training is well understood, but what about mental fitness training?
I’m not talking about education, which as the educational establishment puts it is about ‘preparing people for the world of work’ – a very limiting view in my opinion.
It’s not about mental ‘ability’, but the overall fitness of the mind to do whatever it chooses to do – fitness for the chosen purpose.
Let’s just stand back a minute and consider what we mean by ‘mental health’ and ‘mental fitness’.
I’m talking about this in terms of ‘fitness of the mind’.
The word ‘mental’ is defined as ‘relating to the mind and disorders of the mind’ as in ‘mental hospital’ or ‘mental illness’.
‘Mental health’ is where we talk about things like stress, anxiety, depression and ‘abnormal behaviour’.
It’s not where we talk about happiness, love, enthusiasm, excellence and so on.
You and I understand the term ‘good standard of health’ to relate to physical health, but have you ever heard of anyone having a ‘good standard of mental health’?
And what would that be anyway?
How would we ‘measure’ it – as we do physical health?
This is not about knowledge, experience, skills or what education or degrees someone has, it’s more about how they ‘operate’.
And that’s not necessarily about ‘performance’ although poor mental fitness can, and probably will, affect that.
Here are some of the criteria that you and I could use to check out our ‘mental fitness’.
How we relate to other people, specifically and generally, do we feel in any way inferior, equal or superior – and what do we mean (to ourselves) by that?
How we relate to ‘higher power’ (most people believe in one), ranging through ‘humanity’, ‘spirit’, ‘god’ (in whatever language), ‘the force’, ‘the universe’, ‘source’ and any that I’ve missed out – it’s all the same thing after all. What do we ‘think’ about it and how do we believe it relates to us?
How we interact with what goes on in the world – ranging from believing everything we see/hear/read in the media, on social media, gossip etc to discarding all of it, true or not, as ‘nothing to do with me’?
When something ‘happens to us’ – how we react or respond – negatively, positively, indifferently?
Our internal ‘chatter – is it predominantly negative, positive, confused?
Our paradigms and limiting beliefs – positive and negative, supportive and unsupportive – are we aware of them, are we in control of them?
How we develop our mental fitness – learning, exploring, discovering, researching and so on?
How we maintain our mental fitness – mindfulness, meditation, grounding, connection and so on?
Who and what do we believe we really are – in the grand scheme of things?
There’s some quite profound stuff here and I promise that I’m only scratching the surface accepting that in some instances you may have no idea what I’m talking about!
If you understand all or any of this and can start to make an assessment of your mental fitness (unlike physical fitness, only you can do it although you can get help) then here’s the next question.
Are you mentally fit for purpose?
Are you ‘up’ to whatever it is you choose to do in life from a mental point of view as well as physical?
Are you fully fit for purpose?
Oh yes, and having thought it through, is it the ‘right’ purpose?