We used to think that success was a precise formula of talent, luck, and intelligence.
Well, here’s the good news:
You don’t need all that.
Experts now believe that there’s only one definitive predictor of success:
Call it grit, willpower, or downright stubbornness.
It is the relentless effort of pushing yourself to grow and be better on every endeavor you take on.
Being mentally tough means having zero time for excuses and self-pity—if you want to win, you will do everything in your power not to lose.
Do you think you have it?
Let’s find out:
You’re mentally stronger than average if:
1. You have both EQ and IQ
There’s a huge misconception about mental toughness:
People believe that being mentally strong means you have to be unemotional.
But that’s simply not true.
Mental toughness doesn’t require you to stop feeling your emotions.
It only means having the ability to balance your emotions with logic.
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Mentally strong people understand that emotions don’t negatively affect success. Emotions play a vital role in making the best decisions when mixed with a hefty dose of logic.
Being emotional only stops you when you let it consume you, but acknowledging your feelings is actually essential for your well-being.
2. You acknowledge your weakness
Mentally strong people don’t believe they are invincible to failure, they just don’t let their weaknesses stop them from trying.
While other people make excuses for the things they can’t do, you make ways to go around them.
Either you delegate the tasks you cannot do or you develop a plan to succeed despite them.
For you, your weaknesses aren’t a setback, They’re just challenges you need to overcome.
3. You’re good at handling failure
Failing isn’t something that really bothers you.
You don’t look at failure like it’s a rejection. For you, it’s a sign that you’re growing and evolving.
Failing at something is only a step towards making it right. You’ll fail until you get the results you want.
It’s not the end game.
You are mentally strong if you know how to take life’s harshest lessons in stride and turn them into wins instead.
4. You know when to walk away
You’re stubborn. You don’t give up—unless there’s a very good reason to.
Being mentally strong also means recognizing when it’s time to walk away.
In Alan Bernstein’s and Peg Streep’s book, Mastering the Art of Quitting, they explain:
“Quitting sometimes requires a huge leap of faith—imagining an as-yet unrealized future—and a willingness to take on the possibility of failure, along with the emotional fallout that accompanies it.”
There’s a phenomenon called “sunk cost fallacy,” which means continuing to aim at a certain goal for the unreasonable logic that you’ve already put so much energy and time into it.
But to a mentally strong person, recognizing your limitations is something you have no trouble realizing.
Sure, you’re stubborn. You push yourself more than other people do. However, even you know that there are things beyond your capabilities.
5. You focus on “intrinsic motivations”
Intrinsic motivations are internal motives that come from within you.
Instead of focusing on external rewards like money, fame, etc, you are motivated internally to do things for your own sake.
That includes doing better, being better and pushing yourself to be stronger. These things in themselves are your reward.
Mentally strong people know that real success comes from within. The rest follows afterward.
6. You’re self-directed
Mentally strong people don’t wait around for things to happen.
They happen to things.
You’re mentally tougher than average if you don’t let life happen to you. Instead, you initiate action to get the ball of life rolling.
How do you do that?
By setting goals.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, elite athletes attribute goal-setting as one of the biggest contributors to developing mental toughness.
Small goals, big goals, short or long-term goals—you turn everything into a process of moving towards something.
You’re simply willing to put in the work. And that creates a major impact on the way you do things.
7. You understand that life is a “circle”
Mentally strong have a deep understanding that life isn’t and couldn’t ever be a continuous state of bliss.
They know that there are highs and lows in life. And happiness is just a state of being, not a permanent emotion.
In fact, mentally strong people expect adversity.
You’re mentally stronger than average because you know that challenges and suffering is a part of life. Not only that, but you believe that they are the reasons why your willpower is strong.
8. You understand commitment
Commitment is something mentally tough people have in abundance.
They don’t do anything halfway. It’s either they do it all the way or not at all.
Researchers Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk believe that commitment is how athletes are able to power through pain and exhaustion to reach the finish life.
You’re mentally stronger than normal when you commit yourself 100% to anything you choose to do.
However, you aren’t necessarily committed because you just want to succeed.
You know that you’re bound to experience setbacks.
Setbacks are tough, yes. But for you, the important takeaways in each challenge are the lessons and experiences you get from them.
(Do you want to learn how to be mentally tough? Check out our eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness.)
9. You know how to adapt
You’re only stubborn in the sense that you try harder than anyone else. But you’re not too stubborn to realize that you need to adapt in your environment to succeed.
Change is one thing in life that you can’t stop from happening.
You know it’s uncomfortable—sometimes even painful—but you know it is necessary if you want to succeed.
10. You understand “self-improvement” is necessary, but “self-acceptance” is equally as important
The idea of “self-improvement” can sometimes be taken out of context.
People follow it religiously that they forget how to be content with themselves.
As a mentally strong person, you understand that balance is key.
You know that there are more things to learn, to improve, and to discover. But you also balance it out with a hefty dose of self-acceptance.
You love and acknowledge the things that make you strong. However, you accept that your “weaknesses” aren’t a death sentence, just a reality of life.
11. You’re generous
Yes, you are ambitious. But that doesn’t mean you’re willing to step on everyone just to get somewhere.
In fact, you’re a genuinely generous person.
You’re not afraid to share your knowledge. You like helping people to do better.
Most of all, you’re genuinely happy for them when they do succeed.
You don’t look at others as competition. You’re not petty or jealous.
You cooperate, not compete.
12. You’re humble
As I said, mental people don’t derive pleasure from external gratification.
Everything that they need, they get from within themselves.
One sure sign you’re mentally stronger than normal is if you don’t feel the need to show off.
You’re good at certain things, you don’t need to post videos about you doing them. You achieved something great, but you don’t need to shout it out to the world.
Bragging is a waste of energy. You focus on honing your skills rather than showing them off.
13. You’re true to yourself
Personally, I see this as a product of being mentally strong, instead of being a reason for it.
Mental toughness i
They care about society’s restrictions as to what constitutes success. And they don’t care what anybody else thinks either.
Mental toughness is about living life in your own terms. s about owning yourself.
It’s a mixture of taking personal accountability, accepting adversity, and a refusal to stay put.
And that is why I’ve always believed that the strongest people mentally are the ones who are able to live authentic lives.
What does success mean to you? How far are you willing to go to take it? And do you know how to be grateful for it when you finally achieve it?
Truthfully, the answers to these questions are all you need to know to determine your mental strength.