If you’ve had these 7 experiences in life, you’re mentally tougher than most people

Life isn’t always a walk in the park. At times, it can feel more like navigating a maze full of twists and turns, blind corners, and dead ends.

You may have found yourself in situations that pushed you to your limits, throwing challenge after challenge your way.

But even though they may have sucked at the time, these experiences might just have been shaping you into something – or rather, someone – stronger.

You see, adversity is not just an obstacle to be overcome. It’s also a crucible that forges resilience. If you’ve faced and surmounted these specific experiences, chances are, you’re mentally tougher than most people.

Let’s delve into what these experiences might be and how they contribute to your mental toughness.

1) Facing adversity head-on

Adversity is a universal part of life. It’s not a question of if, but when it will strike. And it varies in nature for everyone – it could be the loss of a loved one, enduring a debilitating illness, or navigating the treacherous waters of financial hardship.

No matter the form it takes, facing adversity head-on is one experience that can significantly contribute to mental toughness.

It’s in these moments of struggle and discomfort that we are forced to dig deep and summon our inner strength. We learn to adapt, to find solutions where none seem to exist, and to persevere despite the odds.

Facing adversity also encourages us to redefine our understanding of failure. Instead of viewing it as an endpoint, we start to see it as feedback – an opportunity for growth, learning, and evolution. This shift in perspective enables us to bounce back from setbacks more quickly and with greater resilience.

2) Saying ‘No’ to societal pressures

Many of us have been there – feeling the weight of societal expectations, the pressure to conform, and the fear of standing out. We’re often encouraged to follow the crowd, to tread the well-worn path, and to suppress our unique perspectives and desires in favor of fitting in.

However, if you’ve found the courage to say ‘No’ to these pressures, to honor your individuality, and to chart your own course, it’s a testament to your mental toughness.

This experience is not about rebellion for rebellion’s sake. It’s about asserting your autonomy, honoring your values, and making choices that align with your authentic self.

Mustering the courage to do this requires a strong sense of self, resilience, and the ability to withstand criticism. You show the world that you’re able to take full responsibility for your life and be true to who you are.

In the words of Steve Jobs, a man known for his creative genius and for defying societal norms:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

This quote encapsulates the essence of mental toughness as it relates not just to resilience in the face of adversity, but also in staying true to oneself amidst societal pressures. If you can resonate with these words, you’re undoubtedly stronger than most.

3) Embracing the imposter within

How many times have you found yourself feeling like a fraud, doubting your own abilities despite clear evidence of your competence? This is what psychologists call ‘imposter syndrome‘. While it can be unsettling, it can also contribute significantly to your mental toughness if you learn to embrace it.

What most people don’t consider is that imposter syndrome isn’t a flaw to be fought against, but a sign of deep self-awareness and a catalyst for authentic growth and empowerment.

It encourages you to embrace your vulnerabilities, recognize your achievements without external validation, and pursue a path of self-improvement grounded in genuine self-acceptance.

Rather than letting imposter syndrome stop you in your tracks, you can use it as a tool to drive a more profound exploration of your personal and professional capabilities. This experience of grappling with self-doubt and coming out on the other side stronger is a testament to mental resilience.

For more on this topic, consider watching my video where I delve deeper into the complexities of imposter syndrome:

YouTube video

This may completely change the way you look at your moments of insecurity, and give you the power to turn them into some of your biggest breakthroughs.

And if you found this insightful and would like to join over 20,000 others exploring living life with more purpose and freedom, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. You can do so by clicking here.

4) Navigating financial hardship

Financial hardship is a reality that many of us have faced or may face at some point in our lives.

It’s a grueling experience that can push us to our limits, testing our resilience and adaptability. It’s also something that can mold us into being mentally tougher than most people.

During these periods, we often find ourselves having to make tough choices, learning to prioritize needs over wants, and finding innovative ways to stretch every dollar.

But it’s not just about surviving the hardship; it’s also about what we learn from it.

Financial hardship forces us to reassess our relationship with money. It’s during these times that we realize that prosperity isn’t just about accumulating wealth. It’s about aligning our financial decisions with our deepest values and using money as a tool for positive change.

This experience can be humbling, but it also provides an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. It teaches us financial discipline, the importance of making wise financial decisions, and the value of money.

5) Breaking free from rigid hierarchies

We live in a world often dictated by rigid dominance hierarchies. These hierarchies can be based on power, status, wealth, or any other arbitrary measure society deems significant.

Breaking free from these structures and challenging the status quo is an experience that can significantly contribute to mental toughness.

Choosing to reject these hierarchies requires courage and resilience. It involves standing up against power structures, potentially facing criticism or backlash, and advocating for a more equitable system where every individual’s dignity and worth are recognized.

This journey is not just about challenging societal systems but also about challenging your own beliefs and attitudes. It’s about cultivating relationships based on mutual respect, empathy, and cooperation, rather than power dynamics.

If you’ve experienced this journey of rejecting rigid dominance hierarchies and advocating for equality and fairness, you’ve likely developed a level of mental toughness that surpasses most people. Not because you’ve won every battle, but because you’ve chosen to fight them in the first place.

For those who feel trapped in rigid hierarchies, particularly in corporate settings, my video on feeling like a slave to the 9-to-5 system may resonate with you:

YouTube video

It’s a raw and honest exploration of the pressures many of us face in the modern workforce and how we can navigate towards greater freedom.

6) Embracing solitude

In a society that often equates being alone with loneliness, choosing to embrace solitude can seem out of the ordinary. However, if you’ve experienced periods of intentional solitude and used it as a means of self-discovery and personal growth, you’re likely mentally tougher than most people.

Solitude isn’t about isolating oneself from the world; it’s about creating space for introspection, self-awareness, and deeper connection with one’s inner self. It’s a time to reflect, recharge, and realign with your values and purpose.

This may have happened after a tough breakup, or a fallout with your friends – or perhaps after moving to a new country or starting a new job. 

Any of these experiences require mental toughness as they involve confronting your thoughts and feelings head-on, without external distractions. It’s about getting comfortable with your own company and learning to enjoy your own thoughts.

The beauty of embracing solitude is that you foster a stronger relationship with yourself, developing a deeper understanding of your emotions, desires, and values.

And with this self-awareness, you’re ready to tackle any of life’s future challenges with greater clarity and conviction.

7) Overcoming the fear of rejection

Fear of rejection is a deeply ingrained human emotion. We all want to belong, to be accepted, and to feel valued.

However, if you’ve faced this fear and braved rejection – whether it was by going for your dream job or confessing your feelings to someone – you’ve also surely emerged stronger on the other side.

Overcoming fear of rejection means recognizing that your worth is not defined by external validation. You learn to appreciate your own strengths, embrace your weaknesses, and understand that everyone encounters rejection at some point.

This experience teaches resilience, self-compassion, and the courage to put yourself out there despite the risk of failure or rejection. It’s about understanding that every ‘No’ indirectly brings you one step closer to a ‘Yes’.

Resilience: more than meets the eye

The human spirit is incredibly resilient. Throughout our lives, we are faced with various challenges and adversities that test our mental toughness. Each of these experiences, no matter how difficult, plays a significant role in shaping us into who we are – stronger and more resilient individuals.

As we’ve explored in this article, certain experiences can significantly contribute to our mental toughness.

From facing adversity head-on to embracing solitude and authenticity, these experiences force us to confront our fears, challenge our beliefs, and cultivate a deeper understanding of ourselves.

In the end, mental toughness is not about being invincible; it’s about acknowledging our vulnerabilities and facing them with courage and resilience. It’s about recognizing that every challenge we encounter holds within it the seeds of transformation.

If you’d like to continue exploring topics around personal growth, resilience, and living life with more purpose and freedom, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. You can do so by clicking here.

As we close this discussion on mental toughness, take a moment to reflect: which of these experiences have you had, and how have they contributed to your resilience?

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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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