Mental Toughness

Firstly, let’s be clear as to what Mental Toughness IS NOT

Mental Toughness has nothing to do with testosterone and biceps; it is not about having the nerves of a terminator and the emotions of a plankton in the mating season – it is not about being able to run marathons in the desert, canoe down almost vertical rivers or swim across oceans.

Mental Toughness is about being tough in the sense of not giving up and being confident that you can prevail, even if the odds are stacked against you; it contributes to our ability to cope in difficult situations, to not give up, and to bounce back from setbacks.

Studies have shown that those with high Mental Toughness deal better with heavy workloads, manage risks better and are able to “forget” things in order to focus on the current issues. Not only that, the Mentally Tough are both less prone to bullying and there appears to be a negative correlation with Psychopathy & a generally negative correlation with Machiavellianism.

Mental Toughness is a good thing to have; it contributes to both your wellbeing and your ability to perform in our daily storms.

Mental Toughness is defined as

A plastic personality trait which determines, in a large part, how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of their circumstances. It is an attitude and can be considered as the attitude that gives us the self-confidence to take up a challenge and the self-control to stay engaged.

Mental Toughness is made up from four elements; Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence; each element in turn is made up from two sub-dimensions.

  • Control is about “can do”, it is made up from Life Control & Emotional Control and is the extent to which you believe you control and shape what happens to you.
  • Commitment is about “stickability”, it is made up from an Objectives Orientation & an Achievement Orientation and is the extent to which you will make promises and keep those promises.
  • Challenge is about “have a go”, it is made up from a Risk Orientation & a Learning Orientation and is the extent to which you see challenges, change, adversity & variety as opportunities or as threats.
  • Confidence is about “self-belief”, it is made up from Interpersonal Confidence & Confidence in Abilities and is the extent to which you believe you have the ability to deal with what you will face.

Even if some of us are more mentally tough than others, we all have a certain degree of Mental Toughness and it can be both measured and developed. It can be measured via the MTQ suite of psychometric questionnaires and it can be developed through a conscious aggregation of small changes.

If you would like to measure your Mental Toughness and identify how you can further develop it, do not hesitate to contact me.


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