People who succeed in life are not necessary strong physically or intellectually, however, every single one of them is strong mentally.
There is no one definite path to achieve success at work and in life. In many cases, it’s not about what you have and what you do – what industry you are in, what you spend your money on, what unfair advantages you have – but how you do them.
Every one of us gets knocked down by setbacks and challenges in life at some point. However, people with high mental toughness are able to get back up quicker than the rest. And they do that again and again and again when most people have already given up.
Mentally strong people think and act differently.
I don’t think mental toughness is something you born with, and I strongly believe it’s something we all can learn along the journey. After studying many examples of successful people and top performers, here are the 10 traits of people with high mental toughness carry in common.
1. You have the ability to delay gratification.
Most people fail because they give in to temptations or give up to challenges too quickly. Mentally strong people understand how to work hard and contribute more now before they even think about returns. Psychologist Walter Mischel proved the ability of delayed gratification contributes to one’s success later in life, in his marshmallow experiment held in the late 1960 and early 1970.
2. You can embrace constraints.
We want to believe we have total freedom, and we think more freedom makes us better off. The truth is the opposite. When some people naively want to have all the freedom, happy people embrace constraints. When they want all the glory, successful people embrace failures. When they want to be perfect, mentally strong people embrace imperfections.
3. You don’t seek permission.
Mentally tough people hold themselves responsible. They never seek for permission and authority. They make their own way. If they made mistakes and hit a roadblock, they suck it up. They don’t control things that can’t be control – such as money and people. But besides those, they are always in control, especially their own state of mind.
4. You focus on the fundamentals.
Start with the fundamentals. Focus on the thing that matters the most. This helps us to eliminate distractions and cut through the noise.
5. You are self-aware.
First, figure out your vision and purpose. Define your own identity. Then, know your strengths and weaknesses, know your roles, know your position, and know your goals. People who are self-aware are stronger mentally because they know how to deal with every circumstance and environment. If you don’t believe me, listen to Gary Vaynerchuck. He is the one who constantly emphasizing the importance of self-awareness today!
6. You see things as they are.
Mentally strong people never create stories for themselves. The ability to see thing as it really is required practice. To be mentally strong, you need to stop telling yourself the stories that make you comfortable and hide your true self and the reality behind the curtain. Accept the reality and then take action to fight against any adversity.
7. You are consistent.
Mentally strong people are not born to be strong mentally, but they learned along the way. Success doesn’t come in a day or two, and mentally strong people understand the power of consistency. They take tiny actions continuously and building winning habits.
8. You are optimistic.
One thing that moves us forward is hope. If there is no hope, there is no action and thus, no results. Mentally strong people believe in themselves, at the same time, believe in faith. The failure of seeing hope in everything you do will fail you before you even try.
9. You embrace uncertainty.
Most people want to predict the future. Certainty and safety are necessities since the evolution of mankind. But no one can predict the future with 100% accuracy, which means there will always be uncertainty. Weak people flee away from it, mentally strong people embrace it.
10. You have a willingness to learn and expand.
Curiosity and the willingness to figure things out make people stronger mentally. Read, experiment, learn, reflect. Successful people never stop learning, even from a defeat, and that’s exactly what makes them stronger.