Mental Toughness is a personality trait which determines, in large part, how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of their circumstances.

Mental Toughness comprises four components, the 4C’s of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence.

In this article I will look at the two sub-elements of the Challenge component of Mental Toughness.

Risk Orientation

Risk Orientation is about willingness to get out of the comfort zone and try out new experiences and challenges. Those with high Risk Orientation will tend to seek out challenging opportunities; they don’t just wait for a challenge to arrive, they proactively look for and embrace challenge.

Risk Orientation isn’t about being reckless and taking on the impossible, but it is about pushing one’s limits, be those limits, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

Learning Orientation

Learning Orientation is about one’s willingness to learn from everything, for those with high Learning Orientation even setbacks are seen as opportunities for learning.

Those with high Learning Orientation tend to enjoy learning new things and will usually try anything at least once

Learning Orientation is about reflecting on outcomes; reusing successes and learning from failures – it is not about “once successful, always successful”, nor “self-flagellation when something goes wrong”.

Some people are low in both Risk Orientation and Learning Orientation, some people are high in one or the other and some people are high in both.

Those low in both Risk Orientation and Learning Orientation tend to avoid risky situations and don’t have much to learn.

Those low in Risk Orientation but high in Learning Orientation don’t take many risks but they do take time to learn from the outcomes.

Those with high Risk Orientation and low Learning Orientation are so busy taking risks they don’t have time to learn from the outcomes.

Those high in both Risk Orientation and Learning Orientation enjoy taking risks and systematically learn from the outcomes.

If you would like to evaluate your overall Mental Toughness, your 4C’s and each of the eight subcomponents, do not hesitate to contact me at

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