Mental toughness is control of your life and emotions.
Mental toughness is confidence in your strengths and abilities.
Mental toughness is commitment to personal aims and achievements.
Mental toughness is accepting difficult life circumstances as exciting challenges.
Mental toughness is the choice to exert willpower and do your True Will.
Mental toughness allows you to cope with stress, sleep better, perform better physically, mentally, and socially, and persevere to achieve your goals.
Mental toughness is a masculine trait.
In a new scientific study, Bahmani et al. (2016) assessed the behavior of 77 5-year-old children and evaluated their mental toughness nine years later at age 14. They found that two behavioral clusters in preschoolers were significantly associated with lower mental toughness scores in adolescents:
- Externalizing disorders: behaviors that are disruptive, destructive, harmful, aggressive, and impulsive.
- Internalizing disorders: behaviors like social withdrawal and isolation that are associated with guilt, worry, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and negative peer relationship (these behaviors often result from being verbally and/or physically bullied).
Mentally tougher 14-year-olds displayed less of these behaviors at age 5, whereas those 5-year-olds who displayed them more grew up to be mentally weaker.
You can use these findings to reflect on and get to know yourself: When you’re being aggressive, is this a sign of your toughness? When you’re choosing to be a loner, will this make you mentally stronger? When you don’t give a fuck about others, does this show how mentally tough you are? It might, but be honest to yourself.
Finally, what can you do to improve your mental toughness?
- Practice mindfulness meditation on a daily basis.
- Adopt the mindset I’ve laid out in my book Willpower Condensed.
- Do something difficult every day (sports, especially martial arts, is the most obvious option; approaching stunning girls during the day might toughen some men’s minds even more).
How do you express and practice mental toughness (or weakness) in your everyday life? Tell me in the comments below!
Bahmani, D. S., Hatzinger, M., Gerber, M., Lemola, S., Clough, P. J., Perren, S., von Klitzing, K., von Wyl, A., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., Brand, S. (2016). The Origins of Mental Toughness – Prosocial Behavior and Low Internalizing and Externalizing Problems at Age 5 Predict Higher Mental Toughness Scores at Age 14. Frontiers of Psychology, Vol. 7 (1221), doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01221.