Mental toughness is critical to success. It plays a role in all areas of our lives. But, what does it mean to be "mentally tough?" And how do you know that you are building mental toughness in your life?
Over the years, I have found that there are 6 signs that someone is mentally tough. Here they are and more importantly, here's you can foster them in your life.
They Ask "How?"
Mentally tough people don't let setbacks, obstacles, or being told "no" get in their way. Instead, they ask "How?" How can something be done? How can the desired result be achieved? By asking "How?" this activates the part of the brain that starts you thinking and looking for other ways to solve a problem...it spurs innovation and creation. The next time you find yourself thinking something cannot be done, ask "How can it be done?" and then start to put your ideas down. You'll find the solution may be right in front of you.
They Understand Logic vs Emotion
99% of people make decisions or react to the things that happen in their lives with emotion. They have emotional responses to just about everything. There is a time and place for emotion, but it can also get your into trouble. Everyone has had a time (or many times) in their life where they reacted out emotion and regretted it later. The mentally tough understand when to seperate emotion and logic and use logic to to help overcome challenges and achieve their goals. For example, maybe there is a time where you gave up on something in your life. I bet if you looked back on it, it was emotion that drove the decision. You may have gotten to a point where "you just could not take it anymore" and you gave in. That is emotion. And every one has those moments, including the mentally tough. The difference is, the mentally tough recognize the emotion in the moment and separate it out. They then look at the situation logically and see how best to manage it based on what they can control, not focusing on what they cannot. They take action and work through - but don't give in unless the logic bears out that it is a fruitless effort. How can you better separate emotion and logic at key moments in your life?
They are Humble, But Believe in Themselves
The mentally tough may sometimes seem to be arrogant or have a higher opinion of themselves. The truth is that they are humble, but they have taken the time to "know thyself" and who they are and believe in themselves, their capabilities, and their potential. And they have built their mental strength up so that what others say or think does not bother them. Most of the time, they have a quiet confidence as they work toward what they want. There is nothing wrong with believing in yourself and charting your own path where others do not think is possible - just make sure to stay humble and be true.
They Keep Going in Spite of Fear
It may be surprising to note that the mentally tough get scared just like anyone else. They question things and have fear come into their lives. But, it should not be surprising that they have the mental fortitude to keep going in spite of the fear, the worry, and the doubts. This is where they separate emotion and logic the most. They recognize the emotional response of fear, but use their logic to work methodically through it and push forward through the fear. The next time you find yourself feeling fear, doubt, or worry - stop and ask yourself "What action can I take now that will help me in getting past this?" Then do it.
They Stand Strong in the Face of Real Adversity
True adversity is different than fear. Fear can come and go on a whim, but real adversity stares in you in the face and can seem insumountable. It takes a lot to overcome real adversity. Storming the beaches of Normandy and defeating the German army on D-Day was real adversity. It took the will to keep going and find a way or make one. The mentally tough do the same. They find the will to keep going in the toughest times in their lives. They will not let themslves give in or give up in the pursuit of their goals and what they want. What is the biggest adversity you face in your life right now? Are you shying away from it and taking it head on and working to overcome it? I can promise that if you choose to take it on and keep going until you get through it, you will be a better stronger person for it.
They are Extremely Disciplined
Mentally stong people are extremely disciplined in their lives and they use the discipline and structure they have created to help them stay mentally strong. In fact, being disciplined gives them the consistency in their day to be more effective and action oriented. It also helps to keep them on the path to success. Additionally, because for many, part of the structure is devoted to their health, it helps to keep them in their best shape physically and mentally to stay at their best. Do you have discipline and structure in your life? Do you hit the ground running each day knowing exactly what you need to do an accomplish for the day or do you find yourself going through days more aimlessly and distracted? In order to be your best, you must be productive. In order to do that, you must have discipline.
If you are looking to improve your mental toughness, take the time start incorporating these 6 traits into your life and before long, you will see the difference they can make.
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