5 Things Mentally Tough People Don’t Do
There is a short list of undeniable qualities that separate the good from the great, and the great from the legendary. And it would be hard to argue that the trait of mental toughness would not be on the "Mount Rushmore" of everybody's list.
Mental toughness is what separated Kobe, Brady, Phelps, and Ali from the rest of the pack. They all had God given talent, but it was their unique ability to shine in pressure-filled moments that made them icons in their sport.
But it goes far beyond sport. Mental toughness is mandatory to succeed in life.
Our world is in the midst of the pandemic that is testing our mettle. Millions upon millions are losing their jobs as well as their loved ones. Businesses that have been around for decades are being downsized and shut down. People who once were vibrant and full of life are suddenly zapped of all their strength for weeks at a time. Our ability to connect with our community has been altered dramatically for our own safety. And this is on top of all the vicious battles that we face as human beings, be it anxiety, grief, addiction, work stress, divorce, or financial strain.
All that being said, mental toughness is a sword that we must sharpen daily. Some people call it resilience, grit, or perseverance. However you define mental toughness, you can always sense when someone has it. And it's no surprise that people who have a mental edge attain the type of life that many of us aspire to have.
These are 5 things that mentally tough people don't do.
1) They don't say, "This is just who I am."
In most cases "This is just who I am" is the most cancerous statement you can say to yourself.
It is the embodiment of a self-limiting belief that can strangle our unlimited potential and rob us of the life we deserve.
It is the act of shutting the door on your personal greatness. Eliminating possibility, and refusing to explore the idea of who you could become.
Most of us are familiar with the difference between having a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Saying "This is just who I am" is the embodiment of having a fixed mindset.
Have you ever said:
- I am not a morning person.
- I am not an athlete.
- I am not a teacher.
- I am not a leader.
- I am not a numbers person.
- I am not a creative person.
The list is endless, but the phrase "This is just who I am" eliminates your ability to grow and reinvent yourself.
If you see people who are massively successful, they never put themselves in a box. They have the uncanny ability to learn, adapt, and transform themselves into anything they desire.
You must embrace this type of mentality in order to maximize your potential. Once you start to tell yourself that "this is just who I am", you psychologically rule out who you can become. This line of thinking is a formula for self-sabotage. Be mindful of that phrase as it starts to pollute your mind.
Embrace the idea of being able to learn anything. Be open to the possibility of reinventing yourself. After years of adopting this way of thinking, you will be surprised what you can pull off.
2) They don't say, "I am not ready."
You will never be prequalified for success. You qualify yourself for success by taking action, doing the work, and being self-disciplined. In time, success will find you.
We are all familiar with the mantra "Ready. Aim. Fire." But the truth is, that phrase is completely backward. You need to "Fire first. Retarget your aim. Then you will become ready."
You cannot wait until you feel perfectly ready to launch your new business, build your ideal physique, or embark on any new venture that can lead to personal fulfillment.
If you continue to sit on your palms, waiting for the perfect storm, life will pass you by.
Life is messy, chaotic, and unpredictable. And any person who waits on the ideal set of circumstances to take action will never get anything done.
After all, procrastination is just a well-dressed version of fear.
Remember that action kills anxiety, faith kills fear, and discipline kills doubt. As you take these action steps you will start to learn how to outwork these enemies of self-sabotage. And you always, "Stay ready."
3) They don't say "What will they think about me?"
This might be the phrase that kills the most dreams.
The great Henry David Thoreau once said that most men live in quiet desperation. Allowing the paralyzing phrase "What will they think about me?" to control your life is what the writer was referring to.
People are too afraid to be themselves. They are not bold enough to embrace what makes them uniquely different from anyone else on the planet.
It's sad that most of us value other people's opinions more than our own. By doing this, you are allowing your potential to be held captive while giving the key to that cage to the public. How can that mentality ever be a roadmap to growth?
This is a quote you should consider as you reflect on your current state of life.
In your 20's you care about what everyone thinks.
In your 30's you care about what your circle thinks.
In your 40's you stop caring about what anyone thinks.
And in your 50's you realize that no one was thinking of you at all.
I am humble enough to realize that I spent a large part of my life around this timeline.
Thankfully, I was able to get ahead of this cycle in my 30's, but that is not to say that I don't need this constant reminder.
True greatness stems from being unafraid of being original in a world full of copies.
Stop making choices based on what others might say and think about you. Embrace every unique ability and strength you bring to the table. It's the only way to live your life.
After all, you will never find a successful person who did not risk being misunderstood or humiliated by going after their dreams.
4) They don't quit for the sake of quitting or say "I can't" for the sake of convenience.
There is a difference between being hurt and being injured.
There is a difference between being sad and being depressed.
There is a difference between walking away from a situation and quitting.
There is a difference between not being able to do something and not being willing to do something.
Mentally tough people know the difference between both sides, while others blur those lines.
People who lack mental toughness use the phrase," I can't" because it's not convenient for them.
They quit when things don't line up with their ideal expectations. They don't have the heart to push through the temporary pain.
Ultimately, there is a time when you should burn certain bridges. It could be a toxic relationship, an unhealthy physique, a dead-end 9 to 5, etc. You must detach from anything that is hindering your path towards personal excellence. Broaden your path to success. Hit the gas and floor it.
After all, you are not quitting on something for the sake of quitting, you are just making room for the things that bring you closer to your greatest self.
Deep down we all know what we should do. We all know the things, the people, and the broken beliefs that we need to leave behind. It takes a mentally tough person to understand those distinctions. Reflect often and see those gaps in your vision.
5) They don't avoid asking for help.
I used to think that being a mentally tough person meant I had to do everything on my own. In many cases, it is quite the opposite.
Vulnerability is a symbol of strength, not weakness. It takes a courageous person to share their struggle, to admit their flaws, and to reach out for help.
We all crave status and most of us believe that if we ask for help, we will lose our credibility with others. This is exactly how your own ego can ruin you.
A person's pride can be their biggest downfall. And when your back is against the wall and you feel like you can't breathe, you need to ask for help.
We all need support in times of deep suffering. We all need mentorship and guidance when we feel lost.
Asking for help can come in many forms. Prayer, coaching, therapy, support groups, financial aid, an intimate conversation between friends. Sometimes it can be as easy as venting to someone you trust.
As humans, we all share the same struggles with fear, self-doubt, addiction, ego, and lack of self-worth. No one is invincible. And even during the times you feel invincible, you will not feel that way all the time. Life always has a way of humbling all of us. If not now, soon enough.
Do not be afraid to lean on others when necessary. It truly takes a village. Mentally tough people know when it's time to use their circle of strength to help them overcome.
Wrap up and the bottom line:
Mentally tough people...
- Do not say statements like "This is just who I am." They are growth minded individuals who believe that they can learn anything over time. They possess the ability to reinvent themselves and adapt to any situation
- Do not say "I am not ready." They recognize that the perfect time to start is right now. The phrase "I am not ready" is a gateway to living a life of regret. And regret is the ultimate suffering.
- Do not say "What will they think about me?" Never live your life based on another person's agenda or opinion. You weren't born to earn their approval or meet their expectations. You were born to express and share the unique gifts that God gave you.
- Do not quit for the sake of quitting. Are you throwing in the towel because you don't have it in you to push through, or are you walking away from a toxic situation? Only you can answer that question. Just answer it with the brutal truth.
- Do not hesitate to ask people for help. Pride can be your biggest downfall and Ego can be your most vicious enemy. Lean on your circle of strength. Seek counsel from people who have been in your shoes. Remember, you are never alone. We are all stronger as a unit.