It’s fascinating how mentally tough people set themselves apart from the crowd. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to overcome. When Thomas Edison’s 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”
Edison’s reaction is the epitome of mental toughness—seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.
There are habits you can develop to improve your mental toughness. In fact, the hallmarks of mentally tough people are actually strategies that you can begin using today.
1. They’re emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. You cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them.
2. They’re confident.
Mentally tough people subscribe to Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed.
3. They neutralize toxic people.
Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check.
4. They embrace change.
Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness.
5. They say no.
Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout and even depression.
6. They know that fear is the No. 1 source of regret.
Mentally tough people know that, when all is said and done, they will lament the chances they didn’t take far more than they will their failures.
7. They embrace failure…
Mentally tough people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure.
8. …yet they don’t dwell on mistakes.
Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state.
9. They won’t let anyone limit their joy…
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness.
10. …and they don’t limit the joy of others.
Mentally tough people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves.
11. They exercise.
A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually and athletically competent.
12. They get enough sleep.
When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake.
13. They limit their caffeine intake.
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response.
14. They don’t wait for an apology to forgive.
Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry.
15. They’re relentlessly positive.
Mentally tough people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control.
Mental toughness is not an innate quality bestowed upon a select few. It can be achieved and enjoyed.