We all have moments (or even days) when we feel as though we can’t go on. We can’t get out of bed. Even our cell-phone feels too heavy to pick up from the bed side table. The whole world seems to be against us, and we can’t muster the strength to keep going. But then we read articles about people whose lot is far worse than ours, whose experience of life and loss is significantly more difficult than ours has ever been and who still manage to get out of bed … What do these people have that we don’t have? Below are some observations of mentally tough/strong people.
1. They aren’t modest – in fact, they are slightly ‘delusional’
Bear with me on this one. I’ve seen this trait in phenomenally successful people, and research has confirmed it: resilient people are slightly delusional about their abilities. Although they see the world accurately, they have a less than accurate perception of their abilities – call it overconfidence or a very strong level of optimism. This enables them to keep on trying until they succeed - their egos are in service to their goals
2. They don’t ‘hide their heads in the sand’
Mentally tough people face up to challenges and adversity – they see problems as challenges, not threats. Their ‘can-do’ attitude enables them to stick with a problem until it’s mastered, which helps them to learn and become resilient when similar, future problems present themselves.
3. They don’t allow pessimism to rob them of future possibilities
If they take a pessimistic view of a situation, their pessimism usually serves a good purpose. They aren’t weighed down by pessimism or negative thinking.
4. They aren’t beaten by failure
They live by the mantra that failure is a case of refusing to get up. And they know that failure is not fatal, but an opportunity to develop their resilience.
5. They don’t allow themselves to drift through life
The truly resilient have a foundational sense of purpose; without a good reason to keep going, they know that they too would probably quit.
6. They don’t give in to hopelessness and despair
They know that hopelessness and despair can be self-fulfilling prophecies, so they choose to take a pragmatic approach to life.
7. They don’t have a crude, ‘win/lose’ view of life
They take the perspective that life is a learning experience in which there are no winners or losers; this encourages them to have a growth mindset that leads to greater resilience in the face of challenges.
8. They don’t shun help
They don’t operate as islands, and they get help when they need it, for example by delegating work. This way, they rarely feel overburdened, a state that can lead to increased stress and feelings of hopelessness.
9. They don’t devalue ‘small’ wins
They celebrate even the smallest of wins because they understand that small wins are the milestones of success. They know that they don’t need to win the Booker prize before they’re allowed to be happy. When good times are scarce, they’ll take the joy. This mindset increases their perseverance and ultimately, their success.
10. They don’t take themselves too seriously
They know the importance of laughter, at themselves and at life (here’s a made up mantra for you: ‘a chuckle a day keeps the stress away’...). Their humour affords them a different perspective on their circumstances which benefits their resilience.
Would you describe yourself as a mentally tough person? If so, why not share your secrets with us using the comments box below – we’d love to hear from you!