Much has been written about how Mental Toughness contributes to increased performance; however, even more fundamentally, Mental Toughness has a significant impact on Wellbeing.

In fact, wellbeing is almost a “precursor” to high performance – it is difficult to perform well if your Wellbeing is low.

In this series of four posts, I will look at how each of the “4C’s” of Mental Toughness can contribute your Wellbeing.

In this post I will look at Challenge.

Challenge has, as do all of the C’s, two sub-dimensions; Risk Orientation and Learning Orientation

Risk Orientation is about your willingness to get out of your comfort zone and try out new stuff; variety is, apparently, the spice of life – even if people like Roger Federer, Christian Ronaldo, Nita Strauss and many others seem to have a great time doing pretty much the same thing all the time.

Risk Orientation is synonymous with curiosity and is about being open to exploring the world around us, being receptive to new ideas and experiences, getting to grips with the unfamiliar and asking questions to find out more and building our knowledge.

People who have active rather than passive minds tend not suffer from boredom, their brains release Dopamine (one of the ‘feel good’ hormones) when they make new discoveries which keeps their emotions more positive.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but, as T. S. Elliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”

Push your comfort zone, or more precisely push your comfort zones and test yourself, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – get into the learning zone while avoiding the chaos zone.

Learning orientation describes an individual’s disposition to approach, manage, and achieve learning intentionally, both from successes and failures and it boils down to having an active exploratory mind and seeking to learn from both the situation and others.

Those with a high Learning Orientation are often referred to as “interested people” as opposed to “interesting people”; the later being more concerned with the question: “how can I demonstrate my competence? as opposed to the question, “what can I learn?”

According to Rick Hanson, the neuroscientist, learning is the superpower of superpowers, the one that will really steepen your growth curve in life. Again, according to Hanson, about a third of our attributes are innate in our DNA, while the other two-thirds are acquired through learning; this means we can have influence and control over who we become – see the initial post in this series

The next time you are in a new situation set yourself the intention of seeing what you can learn; open yourself up to new ways of seeing and understanding – it can help you adapt to change and expand your ability to reach your goals (see previous post)

If you would like to explore your Mental Toughness and how you can increase your Wellbeing and performance do not hesitate to contact me:


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