Regardless if you’re an entrepreneur, athlete, coach, artist or politician, we all must overcome hurdles and setbacks at some point in our lives. These challenges can seem insurmountable, but what separates the successful, or at least those on their way to becoming successful, is their resilience and confidence, not talent. Some call it grit. But, it’s most commonly known as mental toughness.
Over the past couple years I’ve realized that talent truly is overrated — it’s the mentally tough people who succeed in life. I’ve had to fight my way through losing a multi-million dollar business to starting another that is now thriving.
Sometimes you have to just push through. I’ve learned that there is no single factor, but those who possess these a few of the habits below are mentally tough people that can get through anything.
1. They Possess the 4 C’s
The four key components of mental toughness have become known as the 4 C’s:
- Confidence where you believe in yourself and your abilities so that you can achieve success.
- Challenge where your embrace change or new opportunities instead of resistance.
- Control where you believe that you have the power to shape your own destiny.
- Commitment where you set goals and work towards achieving them.
2. They’re emotionally intelligent
Emotional intelligence, which is having the ability to identify and manage your emotions and the emotions of others, is another cornerstone of mental toughness. If you’re not sure if you possess EI, or you want to work towards strengthening it, pay attention to qualities like;
- Not being a perfectionist.
- Having a work-life balance.
- Not being easily distracted.
- Being empathetic.
- Knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
- Being self-motivated.
- Setting hard boundaries.
This was a hard one for me to learn. When I started my online invoicing company, I thought that I had to control everything. I micro-manage employees, oversaw everything and everything had to be perfect. It wasn’t till I let go and learned to enhance others qualities that our business started to grow exponentially.
3. They’re not entitled
Do we all deserve the opportunity to be happy or successful? Absolutely. But, that doesn’t mean that it will easily. Mentally tough people realize that they’re not just going to be handed a championship or successful business. They have to earn it through sacrifices, hard work, and patience.
Letting go of entitlement means that when you do face the unexpected, you’ll be better suited to tackle the problem head-on.
Those who are mentally tough are able to look for new ways and varied solutions to a problem. Think about an NFL team that has a stagnant offense during the first half of the game. They have to adjust their game plan in order to start putting points on the board. If not, and they’re stubborn, they can expect the same results for the remainder of the game.
In the business world, Nokia has famously pivoted several times in order to remain relevant. They’ve gone from a paper mill to producing rubber boats to a tech giant.
5. They learn from the past but don’t harp on it.
Those who are mentally tough see value in the past. But, they don’t dwell on it. Think of your past like training. Learn from your past (or how others have started a business or make money) so that you don’t make the same mistakes in the future. After that, move on.
6. They keep an even keel.
Being calm, cool and collected helps people handle challenging situations. If you’re the type of person who easily gets flustered or stressed, give it some time. Emotional stability tends to increase as we get older.
7. They don’t whine, complain or criticize.
While it’s normal for us to vent from time-to-time, constantly whining, complaining, and criticizing others actually makes us feel even more rotten.
Instead of wasting their time on all of this negativity, mentally tough people focus on making the situation better.
8. They have a sense of urgency.
Mentally tough individuals “remain engaged, alive and connected with a situation when under pressure,” writes Christine M. Riordan is the dean and a professor of management at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. “They are constantly identifying the opportunities, challenges, and threats in the environment.”
However, they don’t sit back and wait to pounce on these opportunities. Instead, “They have a sense of urgency about responding to the changing face of business.”
9. They’re consistent.
“It’s great to talk about mental toughness, grit, and perseverance … but what do those things actually look like in the real world?,” asks author, entrepreneur, and photographer James Clear.
“In a word, toughness and grit equal consistency.”
Athletes are consistent when it comes to not missing a workout. Mentally tough leaders are consistent because they set goals and build a team around them. Mentally tough artists, writers, and employees are consistent have set schedules, like doing the most important thing first and not shirking responsibilities.
10. They’re grateful and appreciative.
Instead of worrying what they don’t have, the mentally tough are grateful and appreciative for what they do. For example, if their business failed, they accept it and are thankful for the lessons that they learned, the people that they met, and how they’re going to make things better the next time around.
As the Seattle-based author, Jane Lotter perfectly wrote in a self-written obituary, “May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.”
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #3 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.