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 energise 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 recognise that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognise 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.
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