There are some broad patterns of thought process and behaviors in all of us. You cannot generalize or make a judgement call, however, some obvious characteristics are evident. You learn to identify traits – Decisive vs. Indecisive, Secure vs. Insecure and so on.
I have come to admire individuals who are mentally strong. These are men/women of few words. They have learnt to be concise and convey their message. Every word they say is measured. They demonstrate the ability to handle pleasure and pain with a certain degree of self-control. They emerge as leaders and have the uncanny knack of rallying others.
Mentally Strong individuals have four distinct characteristics
They are in control – Mentally strong individuals mystically seem to have a good grasp on the situation. Their usual operand is to aim and fire and not the other way around. They put more attention to thinking. Action is based on carefully analysed thought processes.
Validate and Trust – Mentally strong individuals value Trust. For them Trust is sacred, very personal. You would not find a mentally strong person blindly trust someone. They approach a situation, an individual with an open and non-judgemental mind. They observe behavior, words, promises and results. They begin to trust only after seeing the means and demonstrable results. Once they trust an individual, it is set in stone. It is sacred.
Harmonic equilibrium – Like you and me, a mentally strong person goes through the ups and downs of life. There are moments of ecstasy and moments of sadness. Mentally strong individuals do not get attached to these moments. They carry on their day with an element of detachment. They know that each day is a journey to undertake and explore.They allow the day to unfold while living each moment with their feet firmly on the ground, and heads on their shoulders.
Essentialists – Mentally strong individuals are Essentialists. As Greg Mckeown writes in his book Essentialism, mentally strong individuals know that less is better. The 80/20 Pareto rule applies. 20% makes up for 80% of their priorities and purpose of life. Not the other way around.
Is mentally strong an innate characteristic? There is some element of truth to it. Some individuals are born with those skills and traits. Genetics and Physiological factors can be overcome and can be trained – Hard Work beats talent that doesn’t work hard.
As Michael Asken points out, Cops as an example are usually tough people. The combination of genes and physiological factors drives the toughness in them.
While there are things you can do to become mentally strong, knowing the things you should not do is equally, if not more helpful. Amy Morin has come with a classic 13 point list that should be a ready reference for us to live a mentally strong life.
What are some of the characteristics you have observed of mentally strong individuals?