If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: Rudyard Kipling
What separates the world class performers from the merely successful?
Mental toughness: the ability to withstand stress and control your mind.
Are you cool under pressure?
A minister I know was praised for how he led his church . “He might be up to his knees in the fires of controversy and criticism, but you’d never know it when you heard him preach, he was cool as a cucumber no matter the pressure he was under.” That’s mental toughness.
Are you cool under pressure?
Mental toughness is more important than talent or education. The real battlefield for success is in the mind. Talent cannot save you if you cave under pressure. Education will provide information of what to do in a crisis, but it cannot save you if you fold in stressful situations. One of the arenas where you see this truth played out is professional golf. You may not like the sport, but take some time to watch it carefully, and you’ll see mental toughness displayed in every tournament. The pressure of having to summon up a relaxed and graceful putt on the final hole of a championship, with hundreds of thousands of dollars riding on the stroke, is determined more by the mental toughness of the player than by his hours of practice and natural skill. Watching a player, who has just had a disastrous hole that put him behind in the score, put the bad strokes out of his mind and perform at championship level on the next hole, is a primer for mental toughness.
Examples of mentally tough people:
- Winston Churchill withstanding the pressures of the near disasters of the early part of the World War II
- American prisoners of war surviving years of abuse and imprisonment in Vietnam
- American gymnast Kerri Strug working through the pain of an ankle injury to help her team win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics
What does it take to grow mental toughness in your life?
Over the next several blogs I’m going to examine five attributes of the mentally tough and give you tips for strengthening each one in your life.
Here are the attributes we’ll be studying:
- Rigorous commitment to reality
- Refusal to dwell on past failures\regrets
- Relentless optimism rooted in faith
- Refusal to define self by the opinion of others
- Regular review of past successes
This will be a series of blogs that can take you to “next level” success in your life.
How have you developed mental toughness in your life? I’d love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment and if you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, please do so.