A mentally tough person must acquire the following qualities:
Become a Self-Starter
Mental toughness is fundamentally rooted in motivation because a tough person is driven by the drive that comes from within, commonly known as intrinsic motivation. Some researchers studying intrinsic motivation defined it as the desire to become self-determining.
People with this kind of drive are self-starters, and will gladly push themselves beyond the limits for the love of what they do. If necessary, they will only require some bit of encouragement to put in their best efforts. Unfortunately, this only happens in a few of us. Some people are driven by pressure and will only put in the required effort when the stakes are high. They like to compare their progress with that of others. Their kind of motivation is called achievement motivation. If two people are competing, the person with a higher achievement motivation drive will perform better than the other. Behind achievement, motivation is two conflicting mentalities that drive a person into becoming tough. They are found in all people, but a person is likely to incline more to one than to the other. The first is that some achievement-motivated persons will gather their best energies when they predict that a great opportunity for them lies ahead. Even if this success cannot be confirmed, these people are sure that if they work harder, they can achieve this success.
The second kind is the motivation to prevent failure. People who follow this kind of motivation response do so only because something is challenging their egos. If you call a person motivated by the need to avoid failure a wuss because he could not do something, he feels as though his entire manhood is threatened, and works to prove himself, and to prevent humiliation.
Once you understand which of the two drivers is more dominant in your life, you can start training yourself to become tougher and more effective, therefore, build your capacity to endure more. Many coaches say that players who are motivated by the desire to succeed do not need much cajoling or instruction when the chips are down; they consider it an opportunity to turn things around and achieve better. Players who are motivated by preventing failure will need more direction. They will need to be advised on what to do so that they are confident that they have done the right thing when the stakes are high. Otherwise, they will think that they do not stand a chance to achieve great results and will back down.
Whichever method of motivation works best for you, focus on becoming good at what you are doing. For example, if the task ahead of you seems too big, break it down into smaller tasks and see yourself finishing each of them successfully. This way, whether you are motivated by the desire for success or the fear of failure, you will achieve success.
Every day, your mind is a beehive of thoughts: those brought by external stimuli and those you have about yourself. A number will be negative. However, to achieve success, you must only focus on those that make you feel good about yourself. This advice sounds cliché, but I bet you to find a successful person that does not practice this daily. The power begins from the mind. If you think you can do something, you can, and if you think you can’t, you certainly won’t.
One way to get yourself psyched and positive about what you want to do is to create a mission statement. The statement becomes the drive or the compelling reason that gets you through the process. Keep repeating this statement as you carry on with the activity, and at any time, when you start slacking, feeling like quitting, or questioning your motivation.
Locate Your ‘Zone’
A professional athlete responds to the stress of an impending race with some form of meditation, where his brainwave activity goes down. An average runner responds to the stress of an incoming race with panic, stress, and increased brain-wave activity. These are facts, according to conditioning and strengthening coach. This example is enough proof that getting into your ‘zone,’ which requires you to be coolheaded, will allow you to perform optimally, even in conditions of high pressure. The ‘zone’ makes all the difference.
Getting to this state and maintaining it despite the pain, fatigue, distractions, and your self-preservation instincts will cause you to develop mental toughness.
Before you do anything of any meaning whatsoever, you should visualize. You should have already seen yourself performing the entire activity or task from the beginning to the end, successfully. Imagine what you will do to get into position, imagine how your body will be positioned when doing it, and think about the time each activity is going to take. Rehearse this information in your mind because when you do this, all you will have to do is repeat all that you did, and now do it with your body.
Meditate Close in step to visualization
meditation is another strategy for becoming mentally tough. It enables you to relax, reduce stress, and enhance the clarity of the mind. You have to clear your mind of all extraneous thoughts and to prepare your mind for the upcoming task, or contest. One of the most common questions people will have is on whether they are doing it correctly because, in truth, there are some instances when you will be unable to concentrate properly to enter into the meditative state fully. Do not be alarmed. You will soon learn how to block out all forms of distraction because it is a skill learned like any other. However, if you insist, you can also seek assistance from meditation techniques offered on various websites.
No one can coach you better than you can. In all that you do, learn to speak to yourself using second person statements, and you will find yourself becoming stronger by the day. For example, you could say, “You are going to put in every effort you can.” “Only you can achieve greatness in this one.” “You have more strength and energy than you think,” “You are too smart and skilled to fail in this one.” Statements like these will simulate greater motivation to do what is ahead of you.
Constantly Be Uncomfortable
Mental toughness is not birthed in comfort; you cannot settle into a routine and expect to remain strong when presented with different circumstances and stimuli. If you are trying to learn how to work long hours, then increase your working hour a couple of days a week. If you want to become a tougher runner, go faster or run a few extra miles occasionally. These extra sprints should be done at random when your mind is least prepared.
Increasing the level of challenge in your life will enhance your ability to handle all kinds of stress thrown at you. You will also become better at critical thinking and problem solving, both of which are necessary for you to achieve success in different areas of life.
If you have watched ‘Hell Week’ during the Navy Seal training, you understand the meaning of “prepared”. The Seal team gets through a week under the worst possible conditions. Among other reasons, this training is meant to get them ready for anything in the field. Whatever they go through, nothing will be new; they will have experienced it all and known how to handle every circumstance, and it will be difficult, if not impossible for the soldier to break.
Preparedness is based on an anticipation of all problems that could arise, and creating a ready solution, even though it is in the mind. What’s more, preparation helps you achieve satisfaction because you know that you have done everything you possibly could, whatever the outcome is.
Once you take on every step listed above, you will be surprised just how much you go, and the level of success you achieve.
Why you need Mental Toughness in your current role or occupation
Everyone in the society needs to learn and practice mental toughness because whatever position you take, there are going to be pressures and challenges, but you still have to produce great results, particularly in performance-based roles such as in competitive sports, business, entertainment, the medical field, and other high-stress jobs.
Here’s a breakdown for some of them:
Athletes Essentially, the concept of mental toughness was developed for athletes as a way to encourage them to develop an edge against their competitors. Runners, football players, swimmers, figure skaters, golfers, triathletes, gymnasts, and athletes in any other categories can all benefit from mastering the skill of mental toughness.
Entrepreneurs: They work under extreme challenges and pressure in their bid to build businesses from the ground up. An entrepreneur has to sensitize buyers in a market to make them take an interest in the products he is selling. He also must come up with strategies for beating the competition. Above that, the entrepreneur must ensure that the business stays afloat amid challenges like inadequate demand, taxation, employee issues, and others, to avoid losing the money and time he invested in the business.
Medical workers: A medical worker is forever in an environment of stress in his workplace because of the sensitivity of the life-death issue. Nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff working at the waiting rooms, emergency room, operating room, and other areas can benefit from becoming mentally tough, to allow them to serve patients well in these extremely tough situations.
Parents: No parent will say that he or she has it easy bringing up kids, of whichever age. Parenting causes the parents a lot of stress, and many keep on questioning themselves, wondering whether they are doing it right. Parents can learn how to be mentally tough so that they can deal with their children easier, and also to pass on the skill to their children. Children need to become resilient in readiness for the challenges of life.
Military personnel: In all their endeavors, soldiers and military personnel need mental toughness to perform well because their job requires them to be focused and undistracted. Their entire training is specifically structured to ensure that they increasingly become as tough as their careers progress.