Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more.

Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit”, optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, 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 her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear”, if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? 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.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. 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.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11.Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. 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.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. 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 have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Source: Via: Lifehack | 

  • Guest

    Great article. It addresses some real issues. No wonder no one else has yet commented.

  • typedriven

    Great article. It addresses some real issues. I’m happy to say that, by these indices, I’m doing all right. But you have to have these attitudes if you’re an independent writer. You can’t blame other people, expect too much, or dwell on past failures. You have to learn from mistakes. It may be that you develop these qualities from working a long time at something and finding out it isn’t easy. But it definitely helps to have some success in there too: or else things seem hopeless. And it helps to have some supportive people around you. You can’t think you’re perfect because you’re lucky enough to have success and support, but those too help your mental strength.

  • Joy Arst Hubbard

    im also a mental health clinician and incorportate some of these tools into my practice
    good stuff

  • Paul

    Because it’s not just virtue but indeed luck half the time.

  • Nomita Chakravorty

    in a life of constant flux… there is always learning, evolving, growing in process.. and we can never be ALL prepared, but sufficiently so… keep practising, keep evolving. Eat, Pray, SLEEP and love 🙂

  • Guest

    The ability after worrying…the ability after going through trials and tribulations…the ability to LET GO…and KEEP MOVING FORWARD after all of this…is what makes one strong mentality…thats what i believe…worrying is part of the human experience…LETTING GO is the courage to continue living!

  • Euphora Chelle

    The ability AFTER worrying…the ability AFTER going through trials and tribulations…the ability to LET GO and KEEP MOVING FORWARD…AFTER all of this…is what makes one strong mentality…thats what i believe…worrying is part of the human experience…LETTING GO is the courage to continue living!

  • Jonas E.
  • davdevalle

    These people only exist in their own head and in magazines

  • Maria Paula Lacerda

    I would add to this list that Mentally Strong People don’t waste their precious time seated on a couch watching tv… instead of watching other peoples’ lifes on tv they invest their time in creating their own and helping others in need! Time is short for all the amazing things there are to live!!

  • Rick Howell


  • disqus_Bl2TVd1BYW

    Mentally strong people don’t need to toot their own horn- especially by using sweeping generalizations about others in order to do so.

    Nice photo, nice effort, noble charity- don’t cheapen the experience with a “holier-than-thou” attitude….it doesn’t help your cause.

  • Maria Paula Lacerda

    Sorry to all of those who work on television. Certainty there are some undisputable great aspects to it. However I keep my opinion… that’s all that is, my answer to the question “How about you?” By any means I want to give any lessons to anyone… everyone is in their own journey, with their own challenges and aspirations. Diversity is a great thing! Keep well and thank you for your kind words!!

  • Maria Paula Lacerda

    Ohh… by the way! Thank you for mentioning it… I didn’t even referred what my cause was… or causes… even though it’s just in Portuguese for now, take a look at where you can choose to support one of the three stated causes, all to help the integrated human development of the community of Carungo, located in the District of Inhassunge, one of the poorest in Mozambique!!

    Body – Soccer academy for children (great talents to be discovered here! Soccer is KING and dance is QUEEN, the ONLY activities that bring the joy to the entire District

    Mind – New school, equipment and library (kids seat on a coconut trunk right now in a school made in traditional materials where there’s no electricity (in the entire town!) and kids don’t even have pencils or paper to write with!) – check the images!

    Spirit – Vipassana Meditation Centre (“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin”)

  • disqus_Bl2TVd1BYW

    There are so many worthy causes and I have those that are near and dear to my heart to which I contribute and help as much as I can. My career is one where I serve others. I have just found that there are ways to increase awareness in a positive way and ways to increase awareness in a negative way. Making generalizations about people and acting superior is not the way to help your cause. Give for the purpose of giving to others, not for making yourself feel better- this should only be a bi-product of the giving.

    Just in case you are wondering, I rarely ever watch tv and am not a big fan of it myself. 🙂 I just found the response about tv/service work by the way it was worded to be transparent and intended for self-gratification- which I don’t see as actually being helpful to the specific causes that you have listed.

  • Castle Brusa

    This is truly great. It help me reflect on my strong points in my own personal attributes of mental strength and where I can improve on those attributes and become someone who regularly shows examples of having these qualities and genuinely preforms them at almost every moment

  • Johnny MoonOwl

    It is amazing how many of these behaviors are reinforced by working the 12 steps of such programs as Alcoholics Anonymous: self-pity, victim mentality (giving power away, stagnation, control issues, people pleasing, taking inappropriate risks or fear of taking calculated risks, temporal focus is either right now (instant gratification) or on the past (resentments), failure to learn from mistakes, hopelessness, isolating behaviors combined with anxiety related to being alone, feeling they are a victim in life and therefore are owed something from society; His Majesty The Baby, wanting what he wants, when he wants it and he always wants it now – the twelve steps clearly address each and every one of these negative behaviors, thereby developing mental strength.

  • Marvin Heath

    Look around you and you will see some of these folks. There are man of them. However they don’t draw attention to themselves and are not braggarts. These over come many things in life and rather than bragging they just do it as for them there is no other choice.