If you have high Mental Toughness, you possibly see yourself as someone, self-confident, in control of your life, determined to achieve the challenges you undertake and always willing to learn.

However, ……… however, what you see as self-confidence may well be perceived as arrogance, what you see as determination may be perceived as stubbornness and what you see as taking a calculated risk may be perceived as being reckless.

Perception is in the eye of the beholder

Others will react to you with their perception of you, not with your perception of you; if they see you as someone being stubborn and you see yourself as being determined, they will react (behave) as though they are interacting with someone being stubborn.

It is often difficult when in the “thick of the action” to explain why we are behaving in a particular way; many of our behaviours are “implicit” and, we think, obvious to others – “how can our heads down, focussed, goal orientated determination possibly be perceived as anything else?”

If you want to ensure that your Mental Toughness is not being mistaken for Mental Roughness, here are some questions you can ask of those around you to check perceptions

Life Control:  do you see me as purposeful or egocentric?

Emotional Control: do you see me as calm or cold?

Goal Orientation: do you see me as focussed or obsessive?

Achievement Orientation: do you see me as determined or stubborn?

Risk Orientation: do you see me taking calculated risks or as reckless?

Learning Orientation: do you see me as open-minded or overly-introspective?

Interpersonal Confidence: do you see me as assertive or arrogant?

Confidence in your Abilities: do you see me as knowledgeable or cocky?

Clearly, it is not “black & white”; some people will see you somewhere in-between on some of the questions. However, you can use these questions to get a kind of 360° feedback on how you are perceived in terms of your Mental Toughness – you may need to make some of your implicit behaviours more explicit.

Self-awareness and Mental Toughness go hand-in-hand”


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