For all the time we spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more than we think. We can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do.
Over the week, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share 10 points from her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to young entrepreneurs.
Mentally strong people don’t feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwell on how people mistreat them. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”
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They don’t give power to others. Mentally strong people will not allow others to make them feel inferior or bad. They are in control of their actions and emotions. They also understand and know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.
Mentally strong people will always embrace change while they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. A mentally strong person is often energized by “strange” circumstances which intends bring out their best.
Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about life in general. They don’t discuss everything especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In any situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude. They are known to be using these attributes well.
Know any people pleasers who are scared of the dead ends? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.
Mentally strong persons will always (most of the time) take calculated risks. This is entirely a different thing than jumping headlong into foolish risks that have yield little or no impact. With mental strength, persons can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.
When we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. That’s not a mistake. It’s insanity. A mentally strong individual accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes while avoiding repetition. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.
Feeling genuine joy and excitement for other people when they’re successful at something is a strength of a character for any mentally strong person. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others are successful. They rather take close notes on what the individual did well to get to this level. They are always willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.
Mentally strong people are in for the long haul in every activity you find them involved in. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They always have “staying power.” They also understand that genuine changes take time. They are (mostly) patient.
Mentally strong people can be such ‘selfish-loners’ who simply enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. But this is good for a cause as they use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone. They can be unbothered by trends.
Amy Morin also discussed these three points in her list:
Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.
Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.
Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.