I enjoy reading the posts about the 10 life skills that require no talent or education. They are usually important attributes like being on time, work ethic, passion and so on and can make you super productive and successful.
This list is about the 10 mental toughness skills that also require zero talent and which collectively can build your mental toughness so that you can perform and deal with stress better.
You can build each of these skills quite quickly by starting small and doing something each day to become a little bit better and stronger.
In no particular order they are:
1. Be positive
Naturally you will think and be negative due to your brain’s inbuilt negativity bias which seeks to limit your curiosity and keep you out of trouble. In order to override this negativity and clear the mental obstacles that limit your performance keep talking to yourself positively through difficult situations during the day. After a while the voices in your head will naturally become positive not negative.
2. Define your purpose
Are you happy with who you are?
If not, find out who you want to be, and why, and then strive to get there. Once you have your life’s purpose, you begin to feel comfortable in your own skin and become sure about who you are and how you are going to react in different situations. If you know who you are, what you stand for and why, then you have a ‘position’ or ‘an identity’ which gives you some security and confidence in knowing what you will and won’t stand for. This contributes to your mental strength. Without a purpose you are at risk of being pushed around like litter in the wind.
3. Manage your emotions
While it is important to have emotions and feelings, you want to control and manage them rather than the other way around. Otherwise their unpredictability can affect your focus and self-discipline and often your behaviour where you feel your physical or mental security is being threatened. Sometimes this behaviour is irrational and harmful. Look for ways to ‘respond not react’ to situations to keep your emotions in track.
4. Build empathy by walking in their shoes
Whilst empathy isn’t always associated with mental toughness, learning to understand someone else’s situation and motivation can help you influence situations and build strong relationships with others. It often means that you can achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and create trust, which in turn builds your own confidence and strength in inter personal relationships.
5. Never stop learning and extending your comfort zone
By its very nature your comfort zone is comfortable and familiar but it doesn’t challenge you to go further to learn more about new things and different things. So if you can build your mindset to keep on learning and growing you will extend your comfort zone to include more and more skills, situations and experiences that are familiar and within your capability.
6. Reframe negative events positively
Even the best performers in sport, business and the arts experience frustrations, setbacks, failures and poor outcomes. However they are often the best in their ‘field’ because they respond positively to those setbacks. They aren’t the victim – they respond by controlling their reaction, which is to look for ways to learn from that negative situation and where possible turn it into an opportunity. They seek to get better or change their approach.
7. Set goals and targets
Having goals and targets gives you a foundation and a structure to your day. Without them you are operating randomly with no orderly pattern to achieving what you want or need to make happen to be successful or productive each and every day.
8. Focus focus focus
Focus is all about having the self-discipline to achieve your goals and targets without procrastinating or being distracted. It takes some mental training but without it you won’t get the performance you want.
9. Be ready for anything
Life is full of opportunities and different scenarios beyond your routine and ‘business as usual’. Being open to this means you can spot and seize these opportunities as they come along or alternatively you may see the early warning signs on a negative situation that is brewing. Learn to be ‘alert not alarmed’.
10. Be energetic
Energy is the currency of charisma. With energy you can positively impact on the people around you. Your energy is infectious and helps to positively inspire and build everyone else. Your energy starts with a mental commitment and with it you can quickly energize and transform a situation.
These are all skills that you can acquire with a little thought and determination. They don’t require an education or money and you create the opportunity yourself. With all of these attributes you will be mentally tougher and able to more successfully navigate your way through work and life.
For more on how to build mental toughness skills contact us.