By Arianne McManus

What actually is mental toughness? Is mental toughness ncessary to high achievement? What do mentally tough people avoid?

For a number of years, Dr Angela Duckworth, a neurobiologist and psychologist has studied thousands of business people, graduates, lawyers, doctors, artists, writers, teachers and students in all kinds of challenging settings. She has wanted to understand ”Who is successful here and why?”



In all of these different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a predictor for success. It wasn’t social intelligence, good looks, IQ, or physical health. It was “grit,” which the dictionary also defines as “mental toughness.”

Duckworth describes this quality in successful people as “perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals; having stamina; sticking with your future day in and day out and working hard to make that future a reality; a marathon not a sprint.”

Her studies have shown that there is a correlation between mental toughness and self-control. To achieve those long-term goals there are things mentally tough people avoid. Here are seven of those:

1. Being negatively influenced by others

Once they set their mind on a goal, nothing or no one can deter them from it. These people have set their face like flint to their destiny and they will not be deterred. They understand what Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, once said, “The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family and neighbours.”

2. Allowing fear to rule

We face many fears in our quest for success. For instance, the fear of failure, fear of criticism, and fear of rejection. Mentally tough people see fear not as a voice telling them they will lose but as a sign that they are about to win. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

3. Being small minded

Small minded people see the world with blinkers on. They limit themselves and therefore others by their own prejudice. Mentally tough people have learnt to dream impossible dreams and follow their heart, realising it already knows what the dreamer wants to become.

4. Being threatened by others’ success

Mentally tough people genuinely relish the success of others and take lessons from them into their own life. They realise every emotion has a positive and a negative side. Therefore they covet the qualities in those who win and say to themselves that they admire the quality in others and embrace that quality and develop that in their life.

5. Wasting emotion in fighting past fights

After seeing many people wasting their emotion and money fighting the past. If those same people had invested that emotion and money in their future goals, they would be so much more happier and successful.

6. Being controlled by outside stimuli

In Duckworth’s studies, she has found that people who are mentally tough are more self-controlled. They have the ability to overcome the hourly temptation of modern incantations that brings pleasure in the moment, but are immediately regretted.

7. Resistance to change

Mentally tough people relish in change, embrace change, and know that what got them where they are today will not take them where they want to be tomorrow. Not only do they love change, but they understand that change must first happen in them before it happens through them.

This health news was sourced at The Age.