Becoming mentally strong is not something that you can just decide to do, and it usually doesn't happen overnight. The result was their 4 C model of mental toughness: Control: Sense of personal responsibility for life circumstances and regulation of emotions. If you are willing to suspend your (well-placed) skepticism for a moment and disregard the unstable foundation upon which mental toughness research rests, we can explore the evidence for whether it (whatever “it” is) can be considered a useful construct for predicting differences in performance.  We will discuss the quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (descriptive) evidence separately.Â, In a 2017 review of 19 quantitative studies from 2007-2016 relating mental toughness to competitive standard, performance, and achievement, Richard Cowden found that the results collectively “support the commonly held belief that mentally tougher athletes tend to be more successful” as “88% of relevant studies found athletes with higher levels of mental toughness tend to achieve more or perform better.”Â, Qualitative studies have provided additional support for the role of mental toughness in performance, particularly during critical moments.  For example, choke-prone elite golfers identified low mental toughness as an important feature of their choking episodes  (Hill et al, 2010) and four applied sport psychologists with experience at the elite level agreed that mental toughness not only reduces susceptibility to choking, but also increases the odds of recovering optimal performance after a choke has occurred (Hill et al, 2009), Although these results suggest that perhaps there is a there there when it comes to mental toughness research, the whole enterprise has come under attack as a biased social construct that reeks of elitism and stereotypical masculinity.  Several studies have indeed found significant differences across gender and competitive status – with more accomplished male athletes tending to rate higher in mental toughness .  Some critics have gone as far as to argue that mental toughness is nothing more than a romanticized ideal that reinforces the pathologically macho culture of competitive sport (see Caddick & Ryall, 2012). Â. “Mentally tough” has become the go-to phrase to describe the successful athlete or performer. Mentally tough people do not externalize blame or credit. The two questions I get most often are what is mental toughness and how do you develop it? It is defined differently depending on who you ask. And this, in many ways, is the central idea of mental toughness – that it facilitates an adaptive rather than a maladaptive response to challenging circumstances. Mental toughness is a core skill to have at hand when dealing with challenge and change in the working environment. For mos… Mentally tough people don’t let the thoughts and opinions of others define the way they experience situations; instead, they let themselves be the judge of how they feel and how they act.  Good question. “Mental toughness is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to:Â, better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on the performer. Â. They have highlighted that the attributes of a mentally tough athlete in one sport may differ greatly from the attributes of a mentally tough athlete in a different sport. Yet another important unsettled debate involves the proverbial nature-nurture question: Are some people just born with more mental toughness or is it something that can be developed through training? Being mentally tough isn’t about how smart, confident or motivated you are. Mentally tough people love to be challenged.  From an empirical perspective, this “everything but the kitchen sink” notion is problematic because it does not allow for standardization and scientific analysis. Challenge: Willingness to push boundaries, accept risks, and learn from mistakes and failures. This definition considers mental toughness as a constituent of the stress process, whereby the word “propensity” considers that mental toughness resid… “Able to access their talent...” An athlete who has all the talent and strength they need through weight training and conditioning, learning the technical aspects of their sport or position, and years of experience against great competition must be able to use all of that when the time comes. However, overall, thinking prevents us from being in the moment and trusting our innate talent and highly practiced skills.  They are able to identify and focus on the things that are under their control and don’t waste time worrying or complaining about things outside of their control. Mentally tough individuals tend to be sociable and outgoing; as they are able to remain calm and relaxed, they are competitive in many situations and have lower anxiety levels than others. A mentally tough person is someone who is comfortable in their own skin, they take what comes in their stride and enjoy the challenge. Their “survive and thrive” definition of mental toughness as being RESILENCE, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures and CONFIDENCE, the ability to spot and seize opportunities, is a sound and symmetrical definition which I use all the time. Having become a sort of default explanation for any victory in challenging situations, mental toughness has been criticized as, “one of the most used but least understood terms in applied sport psychology”, Mental toughness made its sports debut in the mid-1980s with the early work of Jim Loehr, who defined it rather loosely as, “the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances.”. “...they are capable…” Your effort has nothing to do with the competition. Commitment: Strong internal drive to succeed and relentless pursuit of goals. The Strycharczyk and Clough definition of mental toughness, and the MTQ 4C’s framework that supports it, focuses on resilience and confidence and their related attributes that enable you to perform at your best, whatever the circumstances.  They have an opportunity mindset, meaning that they tend to view pressure situations as exciting opportunities rather than debilitating threats. The widespread use of the 4C model is due in large part to the efforts of its developers in extending its scope of application beyond sports and into the domains of education, business, and the military.  The 4C model also enjoys a prominent role in health psychology, where mental toughness is seen as an important moderator between stress and illness. Many times a defeat is the seed of discontent we need to motivate us to improve our game. Strong internal drive to succeed and relentless pursuit of goals. Laurence Gonzales, author of SURVIVING SURVIVAL: The … “...on a consistent basis…” Anyone can be great in a random chance moment. Toughness is defined as strong and durable. Connect With Your Purpose. Differences have been hypothesized between male and female athletes, as well as between "team sport" and "individual sport" athletes, but to date, little empirical evidence has shown what these differences are. The DNA of Mentally Tough People. They look for … Learn more. Dr. Dave Schroerlucke is a mental performance expert helping individuals and teams develop the attitudes, habits, and mental skills that promote optimal performance, particularly within the context of competitive or high-stakes environments. As a society we place too much emphasis on having no losses on our record. Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. Contact Kathy A. Feinstein a certified Sports Performance Consultant in Naples, Florida. Challenge: Willingness to push boundaries, accept risks, and learn from mistakes and failures. “...at the highest level...” Whitey Bimstein, a long time boxer and trainer once said, “Show me an undefeated fighter and I'll show a guy who's never fought anybody.” His point was to show that an athlete should seek out the best competition even if that means losing once in a while. They sleep better, show better attendance, are more engaged in the classroom and have higher aspirations. These are the things that people do to make sure that they toughen themselves up mentally. Specifically, let’s take a look at core beliefs, habits and the mindset that mentally tough people cultivate that helps them get through life’s toughest challenges. Having become a sort of default explanation for any victory in challenging situations, mental toughness has been criticized as “one of the most used but least understood terms in applied sport psychology” (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002). Being Mentally Well and Mentally Tough are not the same thing. Coaches and sports commentators frequently espouse the importance of mental toughness in competitive athletes. In most sports the next play or the next move is the same no matter if it’s at practice or in the last few minutes of the championship game. There is an old adage, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” You can only control three things as an athlete - your effort, your attitude, and your preparation. In other words, you can go about your business no matter what happens. The qualities of mentally strong people include compassion, caring and patience. As the mental toughness concept increased in popularity, researchers began questioning its scientific merit and pushing for the development of an operational definition so that mental toughness could be quantified and studied using the tools of science.  Although each scale often comes with a persuasive discussion of the theoretical rationale for its development, none has achieved gold-standard status and all suffer from equivocal findings with respect to their psychometric properties (validity and reliability).  Accordingly, there is no real basis upon which to recommend one measure over any other. I believe that someone who’s mentally tough has a combination of willpower, skill and resilience. As a result, mentally tough people will often not be affected detrimentally by stressful circumstances in the same way that the those who are more mentally sensitive might. Though the field of sport psychology is relatively new in comparison to traditional psychology, there are a few mental game strategies that have stood the test of time and brought much success to athletes before you. The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success. People who are mentally tough develop good habits, and then they stick with them. It’s practice that takes work, but if … It’s good to practice any of these in your daily life, whenever you can.  Â, Confidence: Deeply ingrained belief in one’s ability and comfort asserting oneself interpersonally. Are tomorrow’s fish wrappings, so take the Bruce Lee philosophy of learning on your search research shows that tough! Take your pick result more successful tough, you can just decide to do with the same as. Comes from a previous note found here I sent out a while back but thought it was worth sharing.. 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