What is Mental Toughness?

There are many ways one could define mental toughness. When you boil it right down, though, it essentially describes your capacity to deal with challenges, stressors, and pressure effectively. You can still perform at the highest level, despite the circumstances being less than ideal. It’s the part of us that determines exactly how we will cope with difficulty.

To a large extent, mental toughness is the answer to many questions. Experts believe that mental toughness accounts for variations in performance. People who are mentally tough take accountability for their performance. They don’t look for others to blame, they adopt a healthy positive attitude and they go for it.

Mental Toughness Defined

Mental toughness basically demands peak performance. That might sound terrifying, but for someone who possesses mental toughness, it’s just another challenge for them to face. Mentally tough people aren’t scared of challenges, they thrive on them. They have the skills necessary to tackle anything life throws at them. Your mental toughness will also influence how well you perform under pressure. Think of it as the link between stress management and optimal performance. How can you operate at peak performance if you’re unable to cope with challenges and stressors? You can’t. So, mental toughness requires a measure of stress management.

It’s also important to note that mental toughness varies. You may be mentally strong, but there are setbacks that can derail that for a short period of time. If you experience job loss, a divorce or bereavement that can take time to overcome.

There are four main components of mental toughness. We can define it, measure it, and develop it, thanks to our understanding of these components. This was discovered through research by the University of Hull’s Psychology Department. Confidence, control, commitment, and challenge are all instrumental aspects of mental toughness.

Al four of these are things that you can develop so, it makes perfect sense to think that mental toughness is also something to develop.

Mental Toughness > Resilience

Many people fall into the false belief that resilience is the exact same as mental toughness. They’re related, but the latter is a wide concept. We typically describe resilience in terms of challenge, commitment, and control. That ticks three of the four boxes that we touched on above. The missing component is confidence, which is crucial to mental toughness.

Life today likely isn’t any more stressful than what it was in the past. It may feel as though we face greater stress when you look at working hours, technology, and balancing family and friends along with it. The fact of the matter is that these are things people in the past dealt with, too. Now, though, it is harder to escape from everything because we carry much of our stress (it’s your phone) in our pockets and purses. This makes it easier for stress to get a foothold in your life.

It’s also possible to be too tough mentally. Some people develop such a high level of toughness that they do so by robbing from other skills. You might be mentally tough, but are you empathetic to others? One without the other isn’t much use in business. You won’t be able to deal with interpersonal relationships if you pursue only mental toughness and damn the rest.

What’s clear here is that mental toughness is a necessity. It’s something that you require if you have plans to succeed in this life. As you look to develop yours, you will grow as a person because there are also other factors at play. Now you just need to decide how you plan to boost your mental toughness and set your sights on a goal to strive for.

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