Mental toughness, what we commonly know as grit, is the single trait that differentiates those who survive life’s greatest adversities and those who succumb to the smallest of daily setbacks.
Research on performance and achievement indicates that talent is quite overrated when it comes to getting past challenges.
On the contrary, the ability to train your mind to get into the ring and to battle with life is the greatest determinant of success and of your own survival.
How do you develop mental toughness to blast through life’s obstacles?
Mental grit is less about motivation and will power and more about developing a habit of consistency.
Consistency allows you to work towards goals in spite of the hectic schedules, the distractions and the setbacks.
A habit of consistency lets you push past the little voices in your head that urge you to give up, to act irrationally, to quit the fight.
It is not enough to just “set” goals. To develop a habit of consistency, it is important to prioritize and to deliberately engage in activities that push you toward your ultimate goals.
So for example, if you are facing tough times in your business, unless the only option you have is to pack up and quit, you should consistently dedicate time and effort toward building the business and bringing in new work.
The more consistent you are with your business-building efforts, the more you will develop a sense of resilience which will help overcome present and future challenges.
You need to wake up every day and put in the hard work required to sustain your business or in any other area of your life.
Mentally strong people have mastered the art of perspective.
Every day you will face distractions, failures or holdups. Other times, you will encounter massive misfortunes. Your ability to focus on the long-term future and to see the bigger picture will make all the difference in determining whether you will eventually zoom past the small setbacks and navigate the large adversities.
When you are faced with any set back—small or big—take some time to identify the lessons and swiftly resolve to move past this as you focus on the bigger goal ahead.
Mastering the art of perspective inevitably requires you to develop a sense of emotional balance. While you should be keen on your emotions especially in times of adversity, it is also important that you learn how to remain in control of these emotions.
Is positivity overrated? The tons of research available on the impact of positivity are proof that a positive attitude does play an important role in maneuvering the vicissitudes of life.
A look at people who have succeeded against all the odds, those who have overcome great challenges will reveal one consistent fact: These people have a doggedly positive outlook toward life.
A positive outlook offers you the hope of a better tomorrow and therefore the strength to push forward even when faced with a challenging situation.
On the contrary, a negative outlook only serves to fuel the vicious cycle of adversity and stagnation.
When your outlook is bleak, there are no possibilities and there is no way out of your predicament. When your outlook is realistically positive, the possibilities become endless and solutions to your problems present themselves almost effortlessly.
Being in control of your emotions is a vital element of developing mental grit. Mentally strong people are intensely aware of their emotions in each instance.
Developing a sense of emotional awareness can start with a step as rudimentary as asking yourself:
‘How am I feeling right now?’
Evaluating your emotional state regularly allows you to stay in control especially when faced with stressful situations.
Emotional awareness and control offers you clarity, perspective and space to focus on the bigger picture—all constituents of mental grit.
Your ability to manage fear reflects your level of resilience and impacts on your success. Unsurprisingly, the most successful people are not those who avoid failure but rather those who embrace the prospects of failure and still forge ahead in the battle of life.
How do you overcome the fear of failure? Push yourself to do something out of your comfort zone. This points back to the first step about consistency—if you decide to start doing something, you need to pursue it consistently until it becomes an effortless habit.
Placing yourself outside of your comfort zone mentally prepares you to face the inevitable discomforts that will come your way.
While a sense of wit, attitude and a tad of talent can get you ahead in life, without mental toughness, your talent and wit could be fickle in the face of adversity. It’s a mind of steel which will buoy you against the obstacles and storms that blow your way.