“Developing mental strength isn’t about having to be the best at everything. It also isn’t about earning the most money or achieving the biggest accomplishments. Instead, developing mental strength means knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens. Whether you’re facing serious personal problems, a financial crisis, or a family tragedy, you’ll be best prepared for whatever circumstances you encounter when you’re mentally strong. Not only will you be ready to deal with the realities of life, but you’ll be able to live according to your values no matter what life throws your way.”
― Amy Morin
For the longest of time, corporations have spent an ample amount of time trying to work on the employee’s physical strength and health, however, it boils down to the fact that mental strength is more essential for the productivity and innovative mindset of an individual. Only with mental strength can an employee move forward in a positive manner. There are multiple articles that talk about the critical characteristics of mental strength; grit, positivity, tenacity and many more are essential for employees to progress as an individual and as an employee as well. The career of an individual is like a game of chess; to succeed, one must first make a move. Insight and knowledge is the understanding about which move will be the most beneficial to get the end results that are favorable for the person. One must also ponder upon the fact that you may not always succeed in the game of chess but it will better prepare you t=for the next game. David Williams has infamously said, “Fail up”. This phrase explains how the most mentally strong employee is not one who does not fail but one where failing is used as a learning tool that helps to drive you at an accelerated speed. Failing is inevitable. Any mentally strong person will be able to tell you that strength and growth are not like a highway that will directly lead you to your desired outcomes. If anything, strength is like a dirt road without any road signs to help guide you towards the destination you want to opt for. You will end up taking many wrong turns and it might take certain people longer to get there, however, with perseverance, success is inevitable.
However, we need to understand what mental strength really is. There are a lot of misconceptions around mental strength as people tend to see mental strength as the opposite of mental illness. This is far from the truth. To most people’s surprise, mental strength and mental illness can both co-exist in a person at the same time. Mental illness is a completely different thing and must be viewed in the same light that we shed on any other sort of illness. Mental strength however, is a more controllable phenomenon. It is buildable through conscious efforts and it can be absent in an individual as well, if they fail to work on themselves. We can define the mental strength by identifying the characteristics of mentally strong individuals and shedding light on the things that they are habitual of doing. Some of these characteristics are as follows:
- Wasting time and feeling sorry for oneself. Team members that are mentally strong do not prefer to waste their time in feeling sorry for their circumstances and the events that life has planned out for them. These employees do not dwell in the idea of mismanagement or mistreatment that they are faced with. They understand that every single person is face with certain speed breakers in life, however, one must keep moving instead of stopping at the speed bump and criticizing its existence. Instead, mentally strong people contemplate how they have played a part in the situation by taking into account their reaction and trying to analyze their response and see how they could have done a better job at handling the situation. These individuals have mastered the art of taking complete responsibility for the actions and outcomes that they produce.
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality.” –John Gardner
Furthermore, they have a deep rooted understanding of the fact that life is not always fair and it is unrealistic to assume that life will always play out fairly. Mentally strong individuals do not take pressing issues and current mishaps in their work life to heart. These individuals are capable of emerging from tiresome and challenging circumstances with a sense of gratitude and awareness of the lesson that life has taught them. They do not let the situation control them and always prefer to be, or at least try to be, in control of the situation. When times get tough, these mentally strong employees would respond with something like “Oh well” or sometimes even, “That’s life”.
“The scope of one’s personality is defined by the magnitude of that problem which is capable of driving a person out of his wits.”
― Sigmund Freud
- The quality of moving on from a negative feelings allows mentally strong people to stay in the moment and not dwell in the feeling of self-pity. There is strength in understanding the past and especially in acknowledging the lessons that can be learned from past experiences. However, these individuals understand that the negative past experience is only useful as the reflection in a car’s side mirror and not as the car itself that a person takes with themselves to every destination. Mentally strong people invest the majority of their time and energy in the creation of an optimal present and favorable future.
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
― John Gardner
- They do not shy away from change. Employees that are mentally strong embrace change with open arms and they welcome challenge with enthusiasm. These sort of team members do not fear the unknown, if they have any fear at all, it is the fear of stagnation of growth and becoming complacent. An environment where there is constant movement and even an air of uncertainty, can assist to invigorate a mentally strong employee and help to bring out the best version of them. A mentally strong person is always willing to take up a calculated risk. This is not the same as jumping into risks head first and taking unnecessary leaps of faith. But with mental strength, an employee can weigh the risks and benefits that could result from this decision, and will fully analyze the potential upsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take any sort of action.
“At the end of your struggles, challenges, and obstacles comes the mental strength to cross many boundaries in the future.”
― Edmond Mbiaka
- They do not give away their power. Team members who are mentally strong prefer not to give the authority to make them feel bad or inferior in any way. Such people understand the fact that they themselves are in complete control of their actions and outcomes. These people come to a realization that their power lies in their potential to manage and control the way they respond.
“The strength of your mind determines the quality of your life.”
― Edmond Mbiaka
- These team members don’t waste energy on things that they can’t control. People who are mentally strong do not criticize and complain about minor inconveniences and about the perception of other people as they realize that all of these events are not in their hands and cannot be controlled by them. In a situation that goes sour, they recognize that the only one thing they can always control is how they respond to these events and perceptions of people that they come across. Mentally strong individuals are not people pleasers. They focus their energies to strive to be fair and only please others appropriately; ensuring that their personal boundaries are not crossed and if they are crossed, they are not afraid to speak their mind. Mentally strong people realize that you cannot please everyone at all the times and they learn to navigate situations in a graceful manner.
“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.”
- People that are mentally strong do not make the same mistakes over and over again. Such team members recognize that doing the same thing over and over again will simply fail to produce different outcomes over time. A mentally strong employee will also accept full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research has shown that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the most magnificent strengths of spectacularly successful people, executives, and entrepreneurs.
“Learning from each mistake requires self-awareness and humility, but it can be one of the biggest keys to reaching your full potential.”
― Amy Morin
- Mentally strong people do not resent or feel spiteful for the success of others. It takes real strength of character to feel a genuine jubilation and excitement for the success of other people. Mentally strong people have this ability and it is now an inborn ability; people consciously have to develop this mindset. They don’t become jealous or spiteful when others succeed. These people will however, take a very close look at the things that the individual accomplished to better understand the reason for their success. They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts or for others to hand over the success to them for free.
“Increasing the strength of our minds is the only way to reduce the difficulty of life.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- Giving up after failure. A mentally strong employee understands that every failure is a chance to improve and improvise. Even the greatest people are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures in their work and if they had better experiential knowledge, they might have been able to avoid that failure from occurring. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if it is necessary, as long as there is a learning experience from every “failure” that they face and these failures can bring them closer to their ultimate goals and help them grow as an individual and a professional.
“Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
–Robert T. Kiyosaki
- Mentally strong employees cherish alone time. Such people cherish and even treasure the time they spend alone. Mentally strong employees utilize their downtime to reflect, contemplate, to plan, and to be productive. More importantly, they do not depend on others to help in the uprooting of their happiness and moods. They can be jovial with others when they are in a social group, and they can also be jocund when they are left alone.
“All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.”
- Mentally strong people avoid the narrative that people owe them anything. Particularly keeping in mind the current economy, both the executives and employees, at every level, are gaining the recognition of the fact that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, no matter what sort of preparations, certifications, and schooling you come from. Mentally strong employees enter the professional world prepared to work hard and succeed on the basis of their merits, at every stage of their career.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
–Robert Jones Burdette
- Mentally strong employees practice patience. Such people do not expect immediate results for the work or efforts that they put into their work. A mentally strong person understand that nothing good in life comes in the nick of time, be it a nutritional regime, a business plan or a career achievement. They cherish the pursuit of success more than the success itself. They realize that immediate results are hardly ever satisfactory and they rarely bring a sense of genuine achievement in the person. Mentally successful people utilize their energy and time in quantifiable doses and then they celebrate each milestone and every small achievement that they accomplish on their way. They have the staying power and the perseverance to stick around long enough to replenish the fruit of their efforts. Strong employees understand that genuine shift in things takes time.
“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
Being a mentally strong employee is not a one day shift. Employees find themselves on different levels of progress and they tend to become more mentally strong as long as they actively keep molding their thoughts in a productive direction. An employee may have certain elements that are in the above mentioned list and they might be working on the rest.
Any employee who wishes to be a more productive employee and a happier person, they need to try to become more mentally strong. There are a few things that a person can bring into practice to become more in tune with their inner mental strength. For example;
- Start acting according to your value system, and stop trying to act tough in front of others.
- Begin to contemplate how your feelings influence the circle of your thoughts and behaviors instead of trying to suppress the emotions that you feel.
- Learn to understand your personal patterns; how you listen to your personal thoughts and accept the pain that you face instead of ignoring it.
- Learn to admit that you do not always have the answer to everything and ask for assistance from others when you need it.
- Make decisions always keeping in mind that they must direct you towards reaching you full potential. Do no chase happiness and accept that when you do your best, happiness will chase you instead.
- Be positive but learn not to be delusional. Positivity and rationality should go hand in hand so that you are able to set realistic goals and aspirations.
- Understand that you do not need to follow each new trend that people are focused on. Do not force yourself to shape the ideation of others as this is the job of a professional psychologist, not an employee. Do not let your desire to be the best in a trend effect the quality of the work that you are personally responsible for.
- Recognize that mental health and mental strength are different things. You could be a mentally strong person while dealing with depression, anxiety, attention deficit, or any other mental heal concern.
One must realize that it is easier to feel mentally strong when life is progressing smoothly and there are not many major hurdles that an individual is facing. The real test of mental strength is displayed when times get rough and hurdles become unavoidable. The development of such skills increases the resilience against stress in an employee, helps them to better appreciate the little things in life,, and helps them to become more valuable professionals.
A person can really benefit from becoming mentally strong individuals. A person should not become too timid about their actions and realize that life is a series of experiments; some experiments fail while others produce favorable outcomes. However, taking more initiatives and going through more experiments helps you do better things in the future. Understanding that mistakes are essential for growth and the only essential thing about mistakes is to always learn from them. Learn to leave the past in the past and only then you can fully live in the present moment. Do not let your mind feel resentment for the failures that come your way as it acts like a slow poison that gradually kills an employee’s productivity and ability to innovate. Employees of S.T.A.R.S Private Limited realize that this is a never ending journey. There will always be adversity in life, and there will always be an opportunity for growth and improvement. One must always realize that we need to take the world as it comes our way and make the most of it by doing what we know how to do best, using our decision making skills about what’s wrong and what’s right.
“We do not get to choose how we start out in life. We do not get to choose the day we are born or the family we are born into, what we are named at birth, what country we are born in, and we do not get to choose our ancestry. All these things are predetermined by a higher power. By the time you are old enough to start making decisions for yourself, a lot of things in your life are already in place. It’s important, therefore, that you focus on the future, the only thing that you can change.”
― Idowu Koyenikan
When you take a deeper look into all of these habits and conscious decisions, it is easy to get stuck on a check list, trying to check off everything. Instead of getting sucked into a robotic channel of doing things, the employees at S.T.A.R.S Private Limited believe in introspection. The employees indulge in some self-reflecting activities. This allows them to grow in any of these areas where they recognize a lack in their personality. A person, an employee, an individual needs to understand that this life is all about learning each day and becoming a better, more refined, and more flourished version of your our personal self. There is a tiny space between the action that takes place and becomes the stimulus and the reaction that we have for that action: that small space between the two is where an individual makes a conscious decision about how they will respond. It is exactly this response that a person gives that decides the level of their growth and freedom.