As a young entrepreneur, Brian had big dreams and exciting plans. But when circumstances led him through difficult times, he realized that he had not developed the mental toughness he needed to endure successfully.
While he learned to shift his Mindset, Brian was also encouraged by his business mentor to build habits that would develop his mental strength. And when he started engaging in some of these critical habits, Brian found that he (along with his business) was making the shift from average to outstanding.
What is Mental Toughness?
A combination of many qualities, a mentally tough person is self-confident, resilient, flexible, focused, calm and persevering. They are often positive, passionate and effective. Even when they fail, they learn from it and keep moving forward!
Confidence. A confident person is decisive and does not let fear stand in the way.
Resilience. Everyone falls down at one time or another, but getting back up again matters.
Flexibility. Part of the growth mindset is being able to adjust and respond with agility based on current needs.
Commitment. It’s not just luck. You decide what your course of action will be and then determine to do it.
Perseverance. Once you’ve made the decision and set yourself on the course, perseverance is the act of continuing forward without letting difficulties deter you from your purpose.
How to Build Habits for Mental Toughness
Mental toughness doesn’t always come naturally. Just like Brian, many of us need to train our minds so that we can apply these qualities to our lives. It takes discipline, which is built into your life by forming habits. Sure, at first a new habit can feel awkward but, eventually, it becomes second nature and you hardly have to think about it anymore.
One study by the University of Miami showed that building Mental Toughness can come from practicing mindfulness as a habit. This means taking time to stop, focus your body and your brain in a certain direction. Whether through breathing exercises, guided meditation, or other practices, mindfulness helps you to regain control of your thoughts. And this spills out over into controlling your actions.
Whether it’s learning a new language or training for a sport you aren’t adept at, making yourself uncomfortable each day gets you accustomed to taking risks. Even just taking a different route to work can be useful. You’ll become more flexible and learn to embrace the new things by exposing yourself to the wider world. Then, when you are faced with fears or discomfort in the future, you will be able to respond with ease.
In a world where everything is instantly available, making ourselves wait for something is an excellent way to toughen up! The ability to set goals and work toward them develops will-power and self-control, offering a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Whether related to financial budgeting, fasting from food, or limiting time on screens and devices, the discipline required for delayed gratification builds mental toughness.
One other important aspect of delaying gratification is that you allow your brain to take over where your emotions otherwise might. For instance, in regards to financial investments, if you choose a strategy to grow your money, you’ll be the most successful if you stick with it and don’t allow your emotions/fears to incite panic reactions.
These mental strength components don’t necessarily come easily--or everyone would have them! Brian realised that, as a mentally tough person, he is willing to work hard to develop and engage habits that lead him in the right direction.
And while mental toughness plays a big role, Brian also works to achieve physical vitality to help accomplish his goals, which you can read about in our next blog post!