The ancient philosophers defined mental toughness as the ability to deal with stormy weather that life throws at you. Here, we focus on 4 powerful traits to boost mental toughness. This mental toughness is now considered to be the best skill that determines how easily any individual will adapt to adverse or stressful situations.
This is important for everyone to learn especially in current times when the amount of stress we generally face keeps increasing each year. This also becomes the success factor for individuals as people with high mental toughness seek challenges in their lives and use those challenges as opportunities to grow. Hence, in short, it can be said that mental toughness is the stable faith of individuals in themselves that helps them to keep working on their future.
Now mental toughness can be considered similar to resilience which is the ability of anyone to bounce back from hard situations but it is not. To be mentally tough, a person might need resilience but being resilient doesn’t guarantee your mental toughness, in other words, resilience can be seen as a mountain where mental toughness is a clear path to climb that mountain.
Recently, Turner describes 4 powerful traits to boost mental toughness, which he referred to as the 4C’s of mental toughness. Those are:
Control refers to how much control you have over your life, emotions, thoughts, and decisions. To be high in control means you have high awareness of yourself, and to build this awareness try building a habit of journal writing where you write your thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
You also need to be aware about your sense of purpose to help you build clarity about your goals hence, keep asking yourself, “what you want in life” and “what you want to do in future”.
Furthermore, building an internal locus of control helps to build mental toughness. This internal locus of control is built from taking accountability for all of your actions and behaviors, hence, try to focus on taking responsibility for your actions as much as you can.
Building control for your goals is also crucial to build mental toughness. For this purpose, try to use the SMARTER goal setting technique.
Commitment refers to how committed individuals are to their goals and actions. This commitment can first be increased by making our commitment public, by doing so you can make yourself more accountable as well as increase your efforts to meet the expectations you build because of your public commitment.
Another way to increase your commitment is through writing your commitment on small sheets and putting them in places that remind you of them every now and then.
Commitment is also about showing discipline by avoiding distractions. Especially in current times when there are as many more digital distractions than the physical one’s dealing with distractions can prove to be a tricky matter.
To do this, first identify your biggest distractions by observing your habits closely for a couple of days, then build effective strategies to set limits and challenges for yourself to deal with those distractions. You can even build a token system where after each resistance to distractions for a set period you can reward yourself accordingly.
Together these control and commitment helps to build resilience in people which prove to be helpful in bouncing back from difficult situations.
Challenge is the extent to which individuals seek such provocations to grow. Now this belief is stronger from the Stoicism era where they believed that by embracing the suffering one can come out as a strong person. This is often interpreted by the current generation as “ What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
To achieve your personal best, try to seek challenges from your environment. You can do this by first evaluating if the current challenge is enough for your growth or not, then you can set small challenges for yourself in progressive order of difficulty to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone. Remember not to set challenges that are impossible for you to breach as they can prove to be counterproductive.
Fear of failure can also play a major role here that it is specifically not always bad where it cripples a person to give up before trying his best. This creates all the difference, hence to overcome this fear, try to rethink your treats or changes in situations as an opportunity rather than treats.
Having confidence in yourself means that you have faith in your abilities as well as you can manage your interpersonal relationships with confidence. Whereas confidence in your abilities is crucial to achieving your goals, confidence in interpersonal relationships helps to build assertiveness in your communication. This assertiveness helps you to voice your opinion in front of others and even build leadership skills.
To learn assertiveness you can try using the four key components of being assertive, they are, the situation, the feeling, the consequences, and the request. Start with explaining the situation, how that’s making you feel, then explain the consequence of the situation, and at last, add your request.
For example, “the situation is that I am two days late in delivering this report, I am feeling frustrated, annoyed, and embarrassed”. The consequence is that our head manager is doubting our competency and my request from you is that we make this report our priority now is to get this done by today itself.
Furthermore, to build confidence in your abilities, it’s crucial to build the necessary skills. Therefore, first assess the skills you currently have, then assess which skills you need to work on and finally, make a rough plan to acquire those skills. You can even use the help of a mentor or experienced friend in this process.
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Mental toughness results from the combination of these four qualities and building these qualities in yourself can result in the success of any individual.