To be mentally tough requires discipline. We all reach a critical point in our lives where our mental toughness is tested. Perhaps we are in a dead-end job, or in a struggling relationship. Either way, whatever the challenge, you need to be strong to see things through a new lens and take decisive action if you want to move through this phase successfully. While it may sound easy, being mentally tough, particularly during moments of our life where we feel stuck, can be pretty hard. It requires the ability to break the mold, and take a bold, new direction.
Thomas Edison can be viewed as a classic example of mental toughness. When his factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison's response was simple, 'Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.' His reaction is the epitome of mental toughness - seeing an opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.
This is what it takes to be a mentally tough person.
1. They’re emotionally intelligent
Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. After all, you cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong, negative emotions, and do something productive with them. When we encounter moments that test our mental toughness, ultimately, we are testing our emotional intelligence (EQ).
2. They’re confident
Henry Ford's notion couldn't ring truer: 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.' Which basically states that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. A recent study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did. Confidence in mentally tough people inspires others and helps them to make things happen.
3. They neutralize toxic people
It can be frustrating and exhausting to deal with difficult people. But mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally, identifying their emotions, without allowing anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the other person's standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems. When things derail, mentally tough people avoid letting a toxic person bring them down.
4. They embrace change
Mentally tough people adapt easily. They are aware that fear of change can be paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. Mentally tough people seek change that is lurking around the corner, and form a plan of action should these changes occur. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you are going to recognize change and capitalize on the opportunities that change creates.
5. They say no
The more difficulty you have in saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is sometimes, a healthy option. When it's time to say no, mentally tough people do not use phrases like, 'I don't think I can' or 'I'm not certain', they say no with confidence. A mentally tough person also knows how to exert self-control by saying no to themselves. They generally tend to delay gratification and avoid impulsive actions that cause harm.
6. They are aware that fear is the number one source of regret
A mentally tough person knows that in the end, they are more likely to regret the chances they didn't take, far more than the failures they will encounter. Dwelling on your mistakes makes you anxious while forgetting about them makes you more likely to repeat them. Find a balance by transforming your failures into a means of improvement. This creates a tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.
7. They embrace failure
The road to success is paved with failure, and mentally tough people know this. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure. Your mistakes reveal the wrong path that you have taken, paving the way to success. And the biggest breakthroughs typically come when you are feeling the most frustrated, and the most stuck. This frustration forces you to think differently, to look outside the box and see what you've been missing.
8. But they don't dwell on mistakes either
Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. Fixating on problems you're dealing with creates and prolongs negative emotions and stress, hindering performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself, and your situation, you create a sense of personal efficacy. This produces positive emotions and improves performance. Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, yet they do not forget the mistakes they've made either. They, therefore, keep their mistakes at a safe distance, while keeping them handy enough to refer to. Through this skill, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.
9. They won’t let anyone limit their joy
If your sense of pleasure and satisfaction is derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. Mentally tough people feel good about what they do and won't let another's opinions or accomplishments bring them down.
10. They don’t limit the joy of others
A mentally tough person doesn't pass judgment on others. In their eyes, everyone has something to offer and they don't need to take other people down in order to feel good about themselves. When you compare yourself to other people, jealousy and resentment can take over. Mentally tough people don't waste their time or energy, worrying whether they measure up to others.
See below for more great posts about mental health:
8 Character Traits That May Be Hiding Mental Problems
A Doctor's Take on Popular Health Myths and Real Health Tips
The Signs of Mental and Emotion Exhaustion
10 Ways to Improve Mental Strength
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