What makes someone a good leader, parent, athlete, or entrepreneur? Why do some people accomplish their dreams where others fail? Recent studies have found that intelligence only accounts for a very small part of what you achieve. Researchers realize that mental strength plays a much bigger role in achieving goals in personal life and at work. This is a great thing because there are many ways to develop your mental strength.
Here are just five things you can do.
1. Prove yourself wrong.
Every time you think you can’t do something, try to prove yourself wrong before giving in to defeat. Do that one extra sit up, close one more sale, sprint that last 50 meters, or wake up just 30 minutes earlier. Your brain is the biggest obstacle you have to overcome because your body is capable of incredible things, if only you can prevent shooting yourself in the foot. Always strive to prove to yourself that you’re more amazing than you think you are and train your mind to stop underestimating what you can do.
2. Get used to discomfort.
Too much comfort leads to stagnation, which then leads to complacency. While it’s natural to want to avoid discomfort, learning to push through that discomfort is how you can start working towards becoming a mentally strong person. Many successful business people start out being poor public speakers, but they do it anyway. You’d never know just how nervous they are on stage. The more you embrace discomfort, the faster and stronger you’ll become.
3. Manage your emotions.
Emotions do play a large part in decision-making whether we like it or not, but it’s how you balance your emotions that makes the difference. If you feel too anxious or too excited about a decision, take a step back and sleep on it. Write down your thoughts so you can get a clearer picture of the situation. Knowing when you should keep your emotions in check is essential both for your mental health and your mental strength.
4. Explanations, Not Excuses
Mentally strong people see mistakes as just another step towards success. Accepting responsibility for mistakes or failures can be embarrassing, but don’t kick them under the rug. Steel yourself and examine why you failed or made that mistake, and don’t make excuses or blame anyone else. That’s the only way you can learn and grow from your mistakes. You’ll be surprised at how natural it will become to face future mistakes head on.
5. Do one hard thing a day.
Just like embracing discomfort, push yourself to do at least one hard thing a day. Challenge yourself constantly and push your boundaries. Not only will you get a better sense of where your boundaries are, but you can then work on expanding them. Not exactly computer-savvy, but always wanted to build your own website? Sign up for a beginner’s coding course and see if you have what it takes. Not used to standing your ground? Speak up even if it stresses you out.
In the end, mental strength comes down to your habits and whether you have the self-discipline and motivation to keep going. For most people, when they encounter something that’s a little tougher than they’re used to, they choose to avoid it and find something easier to tackle. Mentally strong people will keep at it. They'll find a way to forge ahead and stay on track.
There will always be moments that require extreme amounts of courage, strength, and resiliency. When those moments come, just remember that with great struggle comes great reward. Don’t avoid it, find a way to push through — that’s the only way you can get stronger.