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 Control component of Mental Toughness.

Life Control

This is about making “conscious” decisions with regards to what you do. Those with high Life Control tend to decide with an “inner compass” based on their values, beliefs, desires and personal objectives. Those with low Life Control are guided more by the desires and values of others.

Those with high Life Control are usually “somewhere” because they have decided to be there and not because of external pressure.

Don’t confuse high Life Control with being ego-centric or bigoted, it’s not just about doing what you want to do all the time and ignoring the values & beliefs of others; those with high Life Control may well decide to go with the flow, but it will be a conscious decision to do so.

Emotional Control

This is not about controlling your emotions; it’s about controlling how you express your emotional state. Our emotions just happen to us, something happens in our “external world” and an emotional state is created in our “internal world”. Those with high Emotional Control have the tendency to remain calm in stressful and difficult situations.

Emotional Control is not about being cold and distant with clenched teeth denying anger, frustration or whatever the emotion may be; it is about focusing and using the emotional energy in a non-threatening manner that helps to move things forward.

Some people are low in both Life Control and Emotional Control, some people are high in one or the other and some people are high in both.

Those low in both Life Control and Emotional Control tend to let others decide for them and it’s often an emotional drama.

Those low in Life Control but high in Emotional Control tend to follow the flow and not show their emotions when things go wrong.

Those high Life Control and low Emotional Control make their decisions in my life, however when it goes belly up everyone knows about it.

Those high in both Life Control and Emotional Control decide & assume their decisions and very rarely allow their emotions to show.

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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