10 habits to improve your mental strength

Image: 123rf/ Chanitkasem Sanguanwit

According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, to increase your mental strength, you simply need to change your outlook. It is the tough lessons in life that build the strength we need to succeed. “Developing mental strength is all about doing the things that no one else is willing to do”. Humans are creatures of habit and if you force yourself to push through a challenge, your strength will grow.

Here are ten habits of mentally strong people according to Dr. Travis Bradberry:

You have to fight when you already feel defeated:

Humans are creatures of habit and if you force yourself to push through a challenge, your strength will grow. If you quit when things get hard, it makes it a lot easier to quit again. “You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you”.

You have to delay gratification:

Patience and delayed gratification are essential to success. “People with mental strength know that results materialise when you put in the time and forego instant gratification” says Dr. Bradberry. The famous Stanford experiment in which an administrator left a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes sums up this point. The administrator told the child she was welcome to eat it but if she waited 15 minutes without eating it she would get another marshmallow. The results of the experiment showed that the children who were able to wait until the administrator returned experienced better outcomes in life.

Downloads are available at https://www.ignitermedia.com/products/1350-the-marshmallow-test. In this popular test, several kids wrestle with waiting to eat a marshmallow in hopes of a bigger prize. This video is a good illustration of temptation and the hope in future rewards. This experiment is based on many previous and similar scientific tests. Special thanks to Watermark Community Church (http://www.Watermark.org) for sharing their video with us.

You have to make mistakes and try again:

According to Dr. Bradberry “you have to make mistakes, look like an idiot, and try again-without even flinching”. In a study conducted by the College of William and Mary, 800 entrepreneurs were interviewed and researchers discovered the most successful of them have two things in common:  they don’t care about what people think of them and they don’t let failure bother them. The point being that the most successful entrepreneurs waste little time dwelling on their failures “as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals”.

You have to keep your emotions together:

Negative emotions challenge mental strength, which is why you have to manage your emotions effectively to keep control of them. It is easy to lose your resolve when you let your emotions take over your ability to think clearly.

You have to make calls that frighten you:

Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because they will be beneficial to us in the long run (scrap a project, fire someone, pull an all nighter). It’s easy to let the looming challenge paralyze you, but the most successful people know that in these moments, the best thing they can do is get started straight away”. You have to habitually learn how to make tough calls.

You have to trust your gut:

From when I was a little girl, my mom always told me to trust my gut, however there is a thin line between trusting your gut and being impulsive. “Trusting your gut is a matter of looking at decisions from every possible angle, and when the facts don’t present a clear alternative, you believe in your ability to make the right decision; you go with what looks and feels right”.

You have to lead when no one else follows:

Support makes it easy to set a direction for oneself, but the true test of mental strength is how you maintain your resolve when no one believes in what you’re doing. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities no matter what and persevere until people start believing in what you’re doing.

You have to be kind to people that are rude to you: 

It’s tempting to stoop down to the same level when people treat you poorly; you have an urge to return the favour. “People with mental strength don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either” says Dr. Bradberry. Treat rude people with the same kindness you extend to everyone else, not allowing the persons negativity to bring you down.

You need to be accountable for your actions:

According to Dr. Bradberry “People are far more likely to remember how you dealt with a problem than they are to recall how you created it in the first place. By holding yourself accountable, even when making excuses is an option, you show that you care about results more than your image or ego”.

You need to focus on the details:

Dr. Bradberry is right, nothing tests your mental strength like mind-numbing details. The more we are challenged, the more we dig in and welcome that challenge, improving our mental strength.

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