When people think about the attributes necessary for success, what usually comes to mind are traits like talent, intelligence, skill, and knowledge. But there is another quality that is more important than these, according to research. That is mental toughness, or grit, as some call it. In fact, some research has found that intelligence only contributes about 30 percent to your success.
One study that provides proof of this was done at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Each year new cadets have to go through a strenuous initiation that is designed to test their physical and mental capacities. You might think that the bigger, stronger, more intelligent cadets are the ones who do the best. But it turns out that’s not true. It is the ones with the greatest mental toughness who come out on top.
How to Develop Mental Toughness
Building mental toughness comes about through the way you live your daily life, according to life coach James Clear. You gain it through the small actions you take each day. You first need to figure out what mental toughness means for you. It could be more consistently going to the gym, getting your work in ahead of schedule, or doing a harder workout at the gym.
Most of us define mental toughness as being decisive and taking action in trying, pressure-filled situations. But this is only one aspect of mental toughness.
Mental toughness is something you build in many different ways, both small and large. It’s like any other skill – you need to practice it, to work on it, in order to develop it.
Clear describes it as being like a muscle. You need to work it to develop it. If you haven’t pushed yourself every day, in all of the little things you want to do, you won’t be able to perform when things get really tough.
Building mental toughness depends on all the choices we make every day. You cannot achieve mental toughness simply by reading about it or contemplating it. It only comes about through all of your actions.
You need to develop the habits that enable you to overcome distractions and stick to a routine. It is these habits that enable you to develop the consistency needed for mental toughness.
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