If I had to choose one life skill that would be directly related to living a successful life, it would definitely be mental strength.
The reason mental strength is the single most important skill you can develop in your life is because it is the root of everything else. When you’re mentally strong, you can be confident, disciplined, social, rich, or “successful” in any way you define the word success.
But if you don’t have it? Oh boy…
- You can be confident… but what happens when someone doesn’t like you?
- You can be disciplined… but what happens when the shit hits the fan and all of your plans break down?
- You can have a lot of friends, a great job, and have enough money to wipe your ass with it… but what will you do when you deal with anxiety or depression?
All of these things are not “what ifs”. It’s not a question of whether you will become anxious or depressed. It’s not a question of whether unexpected things will happen. It’s not a question of whether you can make everybody in this world like you, forever.
Life will always give you a hard time.
Your family and friends will die. You will lose jobs, friends, and money. You will struggle with internal conflicts like finding meaning, feeling insecure, and helpless.
If you’re not mentally strong, life will eat you up like fucking cereal for breakfast. And it won’t even spit you out. It’s going to completely grind you up into little pieces, digest you with acid, and shit you out.
Building mental strength helps you prevent that.
1. ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE
No matter how successful you are — in any definition of the term — you’re human. And as a member of the human race, you will experience hardships, unexpected events, and tragic loss. It’s unavoidable and unchangeable.
The sooner you accept these facts, the better off you will be.
It’s not about being cynical or negative. Of course, you don’t want these things to happen to you. Nobody does. But it’s not up to you. And believing you are somehow so special to be spared of hard things in life is what’s going to make you unhappy forever.
Stay positive, but never expect that things will always be positive.
2. CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN
Once you’ve accepted the irrefutable facts of life, what remains are the things you can change. You have direct influence over everything else in your life. If you believe things simply “happen to you” and that “everybody is out to get you”, that’s a recipe for an absolutely miserable life.
You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.
By “change yourself” I mean change your mindset. Change the way you approach life and the situations you encounter.
- You can’t choose whether somebody yells at you… but you can choose whether to yell back and argue or remain calm and focused.
- You can’t choose whether the world is fair… but you can choose whether to complain about it or find ways to win despite it.
- You can’t choose whether bad things happen to you… but you can choose whether to let them break you or whether you will see them as a life lessons that help you grow.
You always have a choice. Even if you don’t do anything, you are making a choice. The same way, you always have options. They may not be the options you particularly like, but options still exist.
MIND OF STEEL: HOW TO START BUILDING YOUR MENTAL STRENGTH
When I chose “Mind of Steel” as the name for this website and the philosophy it embodies, it wasn’t a coincidence. I wanted a name that is going to visualize the mental strength you’re trying to achieve.
Your mind will be strong as if it’s made of fucking steel.
From now on, you are going to live your life based on one simple philosophy: “No matter what life throws at me, I will never break down. No matter what happens, I will remain strong.” Or, as the famous stoic Marcus Aurelius wrote: “Anything you throw at it its fuel for the fire to grow further”.
Mind of Steel is a different way of looking at the world. It’s a mindset focused on taking what life throws at you and turning it into an advantage.
- Everyone experiences hardships. Not everybody is prepared.
- Aim to achieve the best. Prepare for the worst.
- Your emotions often change. Learn to make rational decisions.
Mental strength is going to be your new superpower. Mind of Steel teaches you how to develop it.
- Firstly, you need to open your mind to new ideas and be willing to change. It sounds simple, but it is the hardest step for most people because it requires you to accept that a lot of your core beliefs, values, and ideas are wrong. You need to realize this and be willing to make drastic changes.
- Once you have opened your mind to embracing new ideas, you need to identify which traits you want to change about yourself. What makes them bad? How do they affect your life? What habits are they tied to? People oftentimes force themselves to accept their bad habits instead of changing them. This will require you to become aware of your deeply rooted fears, insecurities, and anxieties.
- When you’ve identified the trouble areas of your mindset, you need to confront them as directly as possible. This includes doing things that scare you, make you uncomfortable, and make you want to quit. You have been cultivating bad habits, ideas, and attitudes for years, maybe even decades, and replacing them with better habits, ideas, and attitudes is going to be a life-long process.
- By choosing to improve your deeply rooted beliefs and notions, you will progress much faster and better than you ever thought possible. This will allow you to replace your fixed mindset with a growth mindset. The more you do this, the stronger your mind will become.
- You will continue this process for… well, the rest of your life. Mental strength isn’t a goal you achieve. You can’t check it off your to-do list and say “Okay, now I have it”. Mental strength is a state of mind. It’s the way you think and deal with situations in life. Just like your muscles get weak and cramped if you don’t train them, so does your brain. If you don’t consistently do things that strengthen your mindset, it is going to become weak and soft once again.
START HERE: BEST ARTICLES FOR BUILDING MENTAL STRENGTH
The Mind of Steel has been publishing articles on various aspects of building mental strength since 2014. All of them are written by me, Phil Janecic. (You can learn more about me here).
Below are the most popular articles you should read first. You can find a list of all articles that talk about becoming mentally strong at the bottom of this page.
- How to Train Your Mind to Be Stronger. Changing your mindset can seem like a long and complicated process. Here’s how you can train your mind to become stronger and more resilient.
- How to Stop Complaining and Achieve True Happiness. Everybody loves to complain. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s absolutely terrible for you. Here’s how to stop complaining in order to be content with life.
- Growth Mindset: Everything You Need to Know. You’ve probably heard the term growth mindset but aren’t sure what it is. Here’s everything you need to know about the mindset of success.