Mental strength isn’t often reflected in what you do.
It’s usually seen in what you don’t do.
In her book, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” author Amy Morin writes that developing mental strength is a “three-pronged approach.”
It’s about controlling your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
Here are 13 things mentally strong people do not do, according to Morin:
1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
“Feeling sorry for yourself is self-destructive,” she writes. “Indulging in self-pity hinders living a full life.”
It wastes time, creates negative emotions, and hurts your relationships.
The key is to “affirm the good in the world, and you will begin to appreciate what you have,” Morin writes. The goal is to swap self-pity with gratitude.
2. They don’t give away their power.
People give away their power when they lack physical and emotional boundaries, Morin writes. You need to stand up for yourself and draw the line when necessary.
If other people are in control of your actions, they define your success and self-worth. It’s important that you keep track of your goals and work towards them.
Morin uses Oprah Winfrey as an example of someone with a strong grip on their power. Winfrey grew up dealing with poverty and sexual abuse, but “she chose to define who she was going to be in life by not giving away her power,” she says.
3. They don’t shy away from change.
There are five stages of change, Morin writes: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.
Following through with each of the five steps is crucial. Making changes can be frightening, but shying away from them prevents growth. “The longer you wait, the harder it gets,” she says, and “other people will outgrow you.”
4. They don’t focus on things they can’t control.
“It feels so safe to have everything under control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic,” Morin writes.
Trying to be in control of everything is likely a response to anxiety. “Rather than focusing on managing your anxiety, you try controlling your environment,” she says.
Shifting your focus off the things you can’t control can create increased happiness, less stress, better relationships, new opportunities, and more success, Morin writes.
5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
Oftentimes, we judge ourselves by considering what other people think of us, which is the opposite of mental toughness.
Morin lists four facts about constantly trying to be a people-pleaser: It’s a waste of time; people-pleasers are easily manipulated; it’s OK for others to feel angry or disappointed; and you can’t please everyone.
Dropping your people-pleasing mindset will make you stronger and more self-confident.
6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks.
People are often afraid to take risks, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional, social, or business-related, Morin writes. But it comes down to knowledge.
“A lack of knowledge about how to calculate risk leads to increased fear,” Morin writes.
To better analyze a risk, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the potential costs?
- What are the potential benefits?
- How will this help me achieve my goal?
- What are the alternatives?
- How good would it be if the best-case scenario came true?
- What is the worst thing that could happen, and how could I reduce the risk it will occur?
- How bad would it be if the worst-case scenario did come true?
- How much will this decision matter in five years?