Mental strength is as rare as physical strength. The good news for achieving both mental and physical strength, however, is that both can be developed over time with extra effort, focus and repetition.

Mental strength, according to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth, is not about intelligence or talent. Mental strength is about “habitually doing it. We all have two choices when it comes to being mentally strong. Either we overcome the obstacles and grow or the obstacles beat us. If we push through challenges, strength begins to grow in ourselves.”

Duckworth believes mentally strong people share common characteristics and/or outlooks. These common characteristics and/or outlooks include:

  1. Mentally strong people believe that patience is essential to success. They believe results only materialize when a person puts in however much effort and time are required. Mentally strong people are willing to forego instant gratification by working habitually and hard and by delaying their gratification so they can achieve their goals.
  2. Mentally strong people think nothing of making mistakes as long as they try again and again and again in order to “solve the problem.” They don’t care much about what others think of their failing attempts because they see their failed attempts as necessary steps towards achieving their goals.
  3. Mentally strong people keep their emotions in check. They recognize that “being in a bad mood” can make a person lash out at someone else and can cause that person become distracted from their goal. They also recognize that “being in a good mood” can make a person feel more confident and more action-oriented…all the best for putting one’s best foot forward toward accomplishing one’s goal.
  4. Mentally strong people most often make calls they are either afraid of making or making calls they don’t want to make in the first place. The perfect example…not doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it at your highest levels. Mentally strong people know that every moment they spend not making the call and/or not doing the task subtracts time and energy away from actually getting the task done.
  5. Mentally strong people trust their gut. They believe in their ability to make the right decision. They go with what looks and feels right to them…not to someone else…but to them.
  6. Mentally strong people lead. Once they’ve crafted their strategy, mentally strong people “stay their course.” This is not to say that mentally strong people don’t adapt and refine their strategy as they go forward…they do adapt and refine as they learn what works most effectively while they continue to move forward with their plan.
  7. Mentally strong people focus on details regardless of how routine, humdrum, mundane and tedious those details are. Mentally strong people dig in and welcome the challenge of doing what “needs to be done.” Details and numbers are no exceptions.
  8. Mentally strong people are kind to others even if/when that other person is being rude to them. Mentally strong people don’t allow anther person’s negativity to bring them down and they do not stoop to another person’s lower level of interacting/behaving.
  9. Mentally strong people are accountable for their actions, no matter what. Mentally strong people care about results, not ego or image.


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