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Surviving to Thriving – Mental Toughness (Steve Harris)
Chapter 3. MENTAL TOUGHNESS DEFINED
“Strong minds suffer without complaining; weak minds complain without suffering.”
The trick or secret to increasing mental toughness is that there is neither trick nor secret. I have a healthy scepticism for anything claiming a secret. Quick fixes and oversimplified solutions to achieving success or significance, insult our intelligence. I favour a planned approach through systematically practising and scaffolding the seven mental toughness components.
The mind is where our greatest potential lies. It is our ultimate asset. When we improve our mental toughness, we move away from irrational fears, illogical beliefs, destructive addictions, superstitions, and other forms of self-destruction.
I help many organizations develop competitive strategic differentiators like leadership, change management, teamwork, sales, service, and wellness. Each of these are enhanced by having staff who become mentally tougher.
A definition of mental toughness
The definition of mental toughness goes beyond the limiting description of a killer instinct or a high pain and panic threshold.
I define it as the ability to prepare for consistent performance by managing your mind so that it is not distracted and directs your energy to the right place, at the right time, for the right reason. With mental toughness, you can give your best performance consistently, regardless of what is going on within and around you. In this way, you become the best possible version of yourself.
Key points on mental toughness
• You simultaneously have ‘fire in the belly and ice in the brain’.
• You develop a self-authoring mind that balances your socially conditioned mind.
• You adapt and improve each mental toughness component by 1%.
• Your concentration is fuelled by passion leading to conditional optimism.
• Your composure transcends volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
• You apply controlled aggression through increasing energy, intensity, and willpower.
• You express confidence through supreme self-belief without arrogance.
• You take calculated risks using curiosity with the courage to innovate and improvise.
• You pursue competence and wisdom through learning, unlearning, and relearning.
• You display commitment; neither trapped in gritting nor quitting – you reinvent.
Your mental toughness mantra is I have the capacity to absorb pain and loss – and move on.
“The resilient brain can withstand ongoing trauma, think differently, stave off brain-related illnesses including depression, and retain cognitive memory for peak performance.” (“Keep Sharp: How to Build a Better Brain at Any Age – Sanjay Gupta 2021)