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Along with emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and information literacy, mental toughness is one of the most valuable skills of the 21st century.
Due to the massive information overflow, we’re facing every day, being mentally strong doesn’t only lead to happier, but also to a more productive life.
Did you ever wonder how some people manage to stay cool during the toughest situations while others freak out? Well, it’s because they’ve practiced their mental strength muscle and know how to deal with difficulties.
And while most people believe that mental strength is a natural ability, you can actually train and strengthen it just like any other skill.
What differentiates mentally strong people from the rest is their discipline to practice certain habits that the majority is trying to avoid.
Instead of letting life happen to them, mentally tough people are in control of themselves and their emotions. They know that they can’t control life, but they don’t let life’s happenings manipulate their feelings or behavior.
They celebrate other people’s wins
People who can’t stand to see the success of others will never experience their own.
Mentally strong people know that life’s more fun when you connect with like-minded personalities.
Yet, what truly differentiates those with a powerful mind is their ability to celebrate others’ wins. People with mental strength don’t see others as a competition but instead, support them on their way to success.
Mutual assistance on the path to victory is undoubtedly more fun than fearing competition. That’s why mentally tough people connect with others and look for ways to support them.
The first step, however, is to surround yourself with the right people. If you’re around people who prefer binge-watching Netflix instead of working for their dreams, you’ll probably not have much to celebrate.
If you are, however, around people who shoot for the stars and work on big goals, you’ll find lots of reasons for throwing parties together.
Life’s much more fun if we share our wins and failures with like-minded people. Stop fearing competition and start building a tribe of people who support you on your way to the top.
They don’t criticize themselves
“Self-criticism, like self-administered brain surgery, is perhaps not a good idea.”— Joyce Carol Oates
While mentally strong people are hungry for feedback and improvement, they don’t criticize themselves. They continuously practice self-reflection, yet, they don’t beat themselves down.
Instead, they apply a practical approach to learning as much as possible from their failures.
We all know how important effective communication is. Yet, we often fail to communicate kindly with ourselves. Instead, we criticize our actions, looks, and outcomes. That’s why mentally strong people learn to get on well with their inner critics. They aim for greatness but don’t let the little voice inside their heads tear them down.
Instead, they are their own cheerleader and know how to raise their energy and motivation when things suck. They create an environment that helps them to stay focused and don’t allow negativity to get into their way — neither through others nor through themselves.
They take care of their physical energy
Building mental strength is tightly connected to physical strength. Various studies prove that our mental health is affected by our physical wellbeing and vice versa.
The stronger your body, the sharper your mind. That’s why mentally tough people take well care of their sleep schedules plus nutrition and exercise regularly to stay fit.
Sacrificing your health to get more done might probably work in the short term, but over time, it will surely backfire.
High performers take as much care of their bodies as of their mental state and invest time, money, and energy into becoming healthier individuals mentally and physically.
A healthy body ensures a confident mind, which again assures good decisions and even more healthy choices. Once you manage to make daily, little changes that benefit your health, you’ll soon find yourself in a loop of positive effects that don’t only affect your body but also your mind.
They take ownership
Most people won’t remember how you created a problem, but they’ll know how you solved it.
Instead of looking for excuses, mentally tough people take responsibility for their actions and mistakes. By doing so, they show that they care about the outcome more than about their ego.
Blaming others or external factors for your failure is so easy, but it will never lead to satisfying results.
By looking for excuses, you give away control over your life and let others create your destiny instead of doing it yourself. By taking ownership, however, you can create your own reality.
In addition, taking ownership is the only way you can ever achieve freedom in life. By blaming others, you’ll forever be dependent on their opinion, ideas, and desires. By taking responsibility yourself, you can detach yourself from the rest of the world and walk your own path.
They adapt to changes quickly
Mentally secure people don’t hold on to the past. Instead, they embrace changes and give their best to adapt quickly.
They know that life is a constant flow of change and that nothing will ever stay the same forever. Thus, they continuously seek challenges and new situations rather than staying in their comfort zones.
By exposing themselves to unknown situations, they train their adaptation muscle and make sure to be quick in responding to new situations.
While mentally weak people are afraid of change, those with mental strength are continually striving for progress. They not only embrace the changes but openly seek new challenges and opportunities to grow.
In contrast to weak people, mentally tough people trust themselves and their abilities to overcome challenges.
Feeling intimidated by sudden changes is normal, yet, every development is an opportunity for growth and new opportunities. Instead of fighting change, mentally strong people embrace it and trust their skills to adapt and overcome any obstacle.
They only invest energy in the present moment
Mentally strong people are masters of focusing on the present moment. They know that now is the only time that matters and don’t waste their time dwelling about the past or worrying about the future.
Additionally, they don’t let distractions get in their way and focus their mind on one thing at a time.
Mental strength and high performance don’t mean performing and being productive all the time.
On the contrary, the most successful high performers are those who can let go of the pressure and focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or wandering in the past.
You can practice mindfulness through simple, daily habits such as meditation or journaling, but also through certain calm activities like swimming.
They spend time alone
Most people are so used to being surrounded by others that they feel uncomfortable once they are alone.
Yet, being alone can be your most precious time. You are the most important person in your life, so getting along with yourself is worthwhile.
Being alone means being undisturbed and having space for your thoughts, regrets, and fears. That’s precisely what most people fear, as suppressing our honest thoughts is much easier when others surround us.
Mentally strong people don’t only accept but enjoy their me-time. They actively seek alone-time to focus on themselves without disturbances.
By being alone, they practice self-reflection and align themselves with their biggest visions. They make space to face their fears and mistakes and seek ways to deal with difficulties instead of running away from them.
“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.”— Oprah
You don’t need to be around others all the time.
Instead, take some time off and allow yourself to unwind, listen to your inner voice, and to take care of yourself.
Spending time alone will help you clear your mind, be more creative, reset your priorities, and slow down. On top of that, alone time is your only chance to do proper self-reflection and gain clarity for your next steps in life.
Even a few minutes of alone time per day can help you unwind and be more present throughout your days.
Morning or evening routines, for example, are great ways to take time for yourself and focus on your inner world. At first, spending time alone might seem weird, but you’ll get used to it quickly and not want to miss it anymore.
They aren’t afraid of failing
Mentally strong people don’t care about failing or other people’s opinions. Instead, they focus on their vision and keep going despite setbacks.
Most successful entrepreneurs we admire today failed many times until they actually succeeded:
Did you, for example, know that Bill Gates’ first software company failed when he was just seventeen years old?
Or that Henry Ford’s first company went bankrupt?
Or that Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz, was turned down by more than 200 investors before he could afford to build his company?
Or that twelve publishing houses rejected J.K. Rowlings’ first book?
They all kept going for years before they “succeeded”. Instead of expecting instant gratification, they had big visions, perseverance, and the will to keep going, even when life was hard.
The majority, however, don’t even start chasing their dreams because they’re afraid of potential failure. Instead of risking failure or getting laughed at, they prefer being safe and living a life they don’t enjoy.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
— Les Brown
They fight when it gets tough
Instead of shying away from obstacles, mentally tough people embrace challenges. They have high expectations and know that they’ll face difficulties on their way to accomplishment.
As Marin Luther Kind Jr. once said:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Instead of giving up and choosing the easy path, mentally tough people start fighting when it gets hard. They aren’t afraid of failing because they know that failure is just a part of success, not the opposite of it.
Those who are mentally confident don’t shrink back from challenges. They know they can get over anything and solve problems no matter how big they are.
During difficult times, mentally strong people suffer as much as the rest of us. The difference, however, is that they seek to find the positive in negative situations or, in the worst case, just accept it the way it is.
It’s during our toughest moments when we grow and evolve into an even better, stronger version of ourselves.
Strength never comes from comfort, but rather from challenging the status quo and accepting challenges you’re not yet ready for.
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