As I contemplated what I was going to write in my article for the MCA blog for this week, I could not help but reflect on the rather challenging month that March has been for members of the MCA team and family. One member of our team tragically lost his oldest child and daughter and three other members of the team have lost their fathers.

Dealing with challenges and trials in our lives is part of life. It refines and teaches us very valuable lessons. It often allows us to stop and reflect on the important issues of our life. It allows us to become more humble. It opens us up to learn and experience new opportunities.

I have, over the years, always been impressed with mentally strong human beings and have studied the behaviours of these people. I have concluded that mental strength isn’t often reflected in what we do, it’s usually seen in what we don’t do.

I am therefore going to share with you nine behaviours I have learnt that mentally strong people don’t do.

  • They do not surrender their Personal Power – You need to st and 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. That you don’t compromise your values and that you stay focused on your vision.

    Malala Yousafzai, whose life was forever changed at age 15 on 9 October 2012, was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen – her “crime”, to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated. The world reacted in horror, but after weeks in intensive care, Malala survived.

    She marked her 16th birthday with a live address from UN headquarters and is known around the world by her first name alone.

    She has been lauded by a former British Prime Minister as “an icon of courage and hope”.

    She said, “I didn’t want my future to be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth.”

    Malala chose to define who she was going to be in life by not giving away her power.
  • They don’t worry about pleasing everyone – Indeed, they’re able to say “no.” Often we judge ourselves by considering what other people think of us. This, in my opinion, is the opposite of mental toughness.

    There are four important facts that we should know about trying to please others:
          -It’s a waste of time
          -You get easily manipulated
          -It’s OK for others to feel angry or disappointed
          -You can’t please everyone

    Dropping your people-pleasing mindset will make you stronger and more self-confident.
  • They don’t live in the past – but they do take time to reflect and learn from the past. The past is in the past. There’s no way to change what happened, and “living in the past can be self-destructive, preventing you from enjoying the present and planning for the future,” it doesn’t solve anything, and can lead to depression.

    There can be a benefit to thinking about the past, though. Reflecting on the lessons learned, considering the facts rather than the emotions, and looking at a situation from a new perspective can be helpful.
  • They don’t resent other’s success – In fact, they celebrate other’s success.

    Resentment is like anger that remains hidden and bottled up. Focusing on another person’s success will not pave the way to your own, since it distracts you from your path.

    Even if you become successful, you may never be content if you’re always focusing on others. You may also overlook your talents and ab andon your values and relationships.
  • They don’t fear alone time – Instead, they make time for solitude. Creating time to be alone with your thoughts can be a powerful experience, instrumental in helping you reach your goals.

    Becoming mentally strong “requires you to take time out from the busyness of daily life to focus on growth.”

    Here are some of the benefits of having your quiet time:
                -Solitude at the office can increase productivity
                -Alone time may increase your empathy
                -Spending time alone sparks creativity
                -Solitary skills are good for mental health
                -Solitude offers restoration
  • They don’t focus on things they can’t control – Instead, they focus on what they can do. It feels so safe to have everything under our control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic. Trying to be in control of everything is likely a response to anxiety.

    Shifting your focus off the things you can’t control can create increased happiness, less stress, better relationships, new opportunities, and more success.
  • They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves – Instead, they express gratitude.

    Feeling sorry for yourself is self-destructive. 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. The goal is to swap self-pity with gratitude. Every morning write down five things that you are grateful for.
  • They don’t feel the world owes them anything – rather they focus on their own efforts.

    It’s easy to get angry at the world for your failures or lack of success, but the truth is no one is entitled to anything. It must be earned.

    Life isn’t meant to be fair. If some people experience more happiness or success than others, that’s life — but it doesn’t mean you’re owed anything if you have had some misfortune.

    The key is to focus on your efforts, accept criticism, acknowledge your mistakes, and don’t keep score. Comparing yourself to others will only set you up for disappointment if you don’t receive what you think you’re owed.
  • They don’t expect immediate results – They take small steps towards their goals.

    A willingness to develop realistic expectations and an underst anding that success doesn’t happen overnight is necessary if you want to reach your full potential.

    Mentally weak people are often impatient. They overestimate their abilities and underestimate how long change takes, so they expect immediate results.

    It’s important to keep your eyes on the rewards and relentlessly work toward your long-term goals. There will be failures along the way, but if you measure your progress and look at the big picture, success will become attainable.

Dave Boreham