Mental strength is one of the keys to successful living. Can it be developed or is it something we are born with. I do believe some people have mental strength in their DNA. However for most of us it is something we have learned through our painful experiences.
There is a good book on this topic which is called “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” by Amy Morin. Here are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do with my expansion on each of them.
They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves – Self-pity is the least likeable in any person. If you feel sorry for yourself you might be comparing yourself with others whom you think are doing better than you. Instead get into the habit of staying grateful for what you have. No matter what your problem is there are people who are struggling much more than you. Irrespective of how many accomplishments you stack there is always someone who is doing better than you. Bottom line is you need to develop your self-esteem which will make you feel in control most of the time.
They don’t give away their power – No one on this earth can make you feel inferior without your consent. We all have enormous power over only one thing and that is our thoughts. Stuff happens but it is how we respond to the negative event that will determine how far we go in life. You have to take control of your thoughts and direct it towards positive areas in your life. Your power lies between your ears.
They don’t shy away from change – With information and technology exploding from all angles it is impossible to survive if we don’t have an adaptable mindset. The number one skill needed for the next few decades is flexibility. You need to be ready to change your plans with new information. We all like our comfort zone and who doesn’t like to be comfortable. However with automation and AI playing a big part we have to be flexible and adapt to the new world of work.
They don’t focus on what they cannot control – Everyone goes through problems. Even the people with the most money have some problem. The question is to first define the problem and then see if we can do anything about it. If it is a fact which cannot be changed we can spend some time commiserating but beyond that we should just accept reality and move on. It is so interesting to see how sporting legends just accept defeat and move on immediately to the next event. We all can take a leaf out of that.
They don’t worry about pleasing everyone – Of course all of us want to be liked and we are all nice people who never want to make other people feel bad. I take this to mean don’t go out of the way trying to please others because it never works. If there is a disagreement just keep moving on to something else because everyone has their opinion. Please yourself first.
They don’t fear taking calculated risks – Of course any successful person would tell you that they would not have reached their summit without taking some risks. Boldness surely has magic in it. However this doesn’t mean taking unhinged bets putting your kith and kin at risk. Take calculated risks where the cost of failure is weighed and if the worst possible outcome is ok then take the risk.
They don’t make the same mistakes over and over – The only thing that we should learn from failure is to not repeat the same mistake again. We can probably make the same mistake twice if we are lucky more than that is just not good. One way is to record your mistakes in a journal so you have a track to monitor and learn.
They don’t resent other people’s success – This is an excellent suggestion and I take it to mean have an abundance mentality. There is always someone who will achieve more than us. Let us congratulate everyone on their success and feel genuinely happy. It is great to be inspired by someone else’s success but never envy the other person. We don’t have a clue to what the other person is going through or sacrifices made to achieve success. IF you are comfortable in your own skin you will have no problem in appreciating others success.
They don’t give up after their first failure – Never give up. This is the only key to success. Look to JK Rowling, Steve Jobs and so many others. All of them failed before they attained success. Dr. Seuss the famous author who has inspired millions of children had his first book rejected 27 times. No one who has achieved anything of significance did it without encountering setbacks.
They don’t fear time alone – If you want to get the most out of life you need to spend time alone. Solitude is your best friend and unless you take some alone time you can never unearth your creativity. Ernest Hemingway and many other creatives were known to spend time alone. A lot of them also took long walks to get their creative juices flowing.
They don’t feel the world owes them anything – Your odds of winning the lottery or a wealthy family member leaving an inheritance is probably 1 in a billion. The only way we are going to get anything out of life is to give our best and work damn hard. There is no other way. There may be many books which promise quick fix and easy methods to make money. I don’t think there are any shortcuts on the path to financial independence and really there is no free lunch.
They don’t expect immediate results – Everything we want out of life takes time. All of us do know this but we need a reminder. We can envy Sachin Tendulkar unless we look the amount of practice he put in to reach super stardom. Anyone who has achieved anything has done it through relentless practice and perseverance. There is no way around it. We need to be in it for the long haul. The law of cause and effect does reign supreme. You get what you give and sometimes you get after a really long time of giving.
If we follow these 13 suggestions we can become more mentally strong and get the most out of ourselves.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.