Mental Toughness is not something you can see; it’s a mindset or an attitude – it’s something that goes on in our head.

However, those with high Mental Toughness; i.e., those with relatively high “scores” in all of the eight sub-dimensions, tend to have a certain way of behaving.

The image of the mentally tough, as emotionless, square jawed individuals impervious to the outside world is a myth; most mentally tough people tend to be sociable with lower anxiety levels than others; they are able to remain calm in difficult situations and have a high sense of self-belief in what they can achieve. Not only that, but they generally have both higher aspirations than the less mentally tough and higher wellbeing.

This is my description of someone with high Mental Toughness.

They are decisive & calm without being domineering & cold, they are focussed & determined without being blinkered & stubborn, they are adventurous & curious without being reckless & overly introspective and they are confident & knowledgeable without being arrogant & self-opinionated

The film, “Twelve Angry Men” is an excellent example of someone incarnating their Mental Toughness. The “hero” (Henry Fonda) of the film, despite personal and almost physical attacks, stays focussed on “why he is in the jury room”; he is patient, empathic, takes risks and shows his doubts without being condescending, arrogant and critical.

Truly high Mental Toughness is about being “strong” in all of the eight sub-dimensions; however, it is possible to have quite high Mental Toughness with an “Achilles Tendon”; an area that invariably lets us down.

Low Emotional Control can lead to emotional outbursts at inappropriate moments, low Achievement Orientation can lead us to becoming side-tracked by other demands, low Learning Orientation can mean we repeat the same, or similar, mistakes, etc.

Being mentally tough is a real game changer; at the individual level, at the team level and at the organisational level.

If you are interested in exploring your Mental Toughness or that of your team or organisation, do not hesitate to contact me at

I have been a licensed user of the benchmark suite of MTQ questionnaires since 2008 and a Master Trainer since 2017


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