On the Job

5 habits to build mental toughness

Being mentally tough, resilient, and willing to persevere when the chips are down are all qualities that will lead to your long-term success.

People often like to believe they are stronger than they are, emotionally as well as physically. But the problem with this overestimation is that—after we take a tumble, whether at work or in our personal lives—we realize that we’re not as mentally tough as we thought we were.

How, then, do we improve our mental strength? Through practice, it seems. Practice these five habits to build mental toughness and adopt them into your daily routine—your personal growth might astound you.

  1. Regard the past through a different lens

When looking back at negative events in our lives, many of us fixate on how we would have acted differently, or circumstances we wanted to change. Looking at the past as a learning experience—and leaving it as that—is actually much more beneficial to us in the long run than constantly replaying what went wrong and beating ourselves up over it.

  1. Don’t dwell on the things you can’t control

Why would you waste your time on situations that you cannot exert any power over? Spend less time hating, less time dwelling, less time reflecting on things already past and outcomes already finished. You can then devote your precious energy to other, more important things that will impact your work and life going forward.

  1. Be happy for others

Even when a coworker scores a promotion you wanted, or a colleague gets that corner office that you had your eye on, make sure that you sincerely celebrate their joy with them. It’s good practice to be able to compartmentalize your own feelings of failure separately from their successes. After all, resentment can be the most crippling of emotions.

  1. Know that you are in control of your destiny

Remember that it is you who ultimately determines your day-to-day outcomes and your faraway future. Do everything with intention, and remain confident that you have the ability and power to make your situation better if and when you decide to.

  1. Stay grateful

Giving thanks is one of the things we do least as people—and definitely one of the things we need to do more. Realizing the good things we do have, instead of focusing on what we don’t, allows us to move forward productively from any negative situation. So stay strong, and carry on.

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