Mental fortitude comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Here’s how you enhance it.
Being mentally strong is one of those personal attributes that everyone could benefit from. Since we all encounter personal challenges and difficulties in our life, the ability to stay psychologically strong is invaluable. But is mental strength something we are just born with? Or can it be developed? Luckily, there are ways to enhance and amplify mental toughness. Here are six of the best.
1. Stay on target.
A major component of mental strength is the capacity to focus in on the pursuit of long-term goals. People who are mentally weak allow the minor hindrances of life to distract them from their objectives, which inevitably leads to underachievement. Surviving the inevitable setbacks and disappointments of life requires focusing on larger goals and plans.
2. Look at adversity as an opportunity.
Tough times aren’t necessarily a bad thing–in fact, they can often be a positive. That’s because you only really learn and grow through overcoming difficulties. The simple act of embracing a challenge can be a massive psychological step forward. Such a change in attitude can alter your whole outlook on life, helping to increase your mental fortitude.
3. Focus only on what you can control (my favorite).
Worry and fear are the enemies of mental stability and strength. While fear and worry may be impossible to totally avoid, many people bring trouble upon themselves by obsessing over things they cannot really control. For example, worrying about how a project will be received once it is submitted is pointless and accomplishes nothing. Focusing on whatever task is at hand–and letting the rest take care of itself–is simply smarter.
4. Develop resiliency.
No matter how much the perfectionists among us might wish otherwise, no individual can completely avoid setbacks and failure. In fact, what’s far more important than avoiding error is developing the mental strength required to bounce back quickly from a mistake. Learning how to get back on your feet, without spending any time malingering or feeling sorry for yourself, is essential. This is the entrepreneur’s armor.
5. Don’t spend too much time thinking about what other people think.
While everyone should be able to accept constructive criticism and other kinds of helpful input, there’s a definite limit to how much attention should be paid to the opinions of others. Ultimately, other people are responsible for their opinions, not you–and there is no point in dwelling on something that isn’t your responsibility.
6.Strive to be emotionally even-keeled.
Getting either too high or too low emotionally is almost always a barrier to true mental strength, something I’m especially guilty of. However, being out of control emotionally makes it impossible to proceed forward in a rational, constructive way. Those who experience excessive emotional turbulence have a hard time dealing with life’s problems. That’s why the ability to keep control of powerful, disruptive feelings is such a crucial aspect of mental discipline.
Whether it’s in sports, career, or another of life’s competitive arenas, mental strength is often more important to success than natural ability. Fortunately, psychological strength is not an innate talent but rather a trait that can be acquired. With the recommendations above, almost everyone should be able to enhance their mental strength.
Tom Popomaronis is a serial entrepreneur, an e-commerce expert, and a proud Baltimore native. He has been recognized for technology and startup leadership by Fast Company, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, and Forbes. Tom was also named “40 under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal in 2014.