How to Think Better: mentally strong people

In a good book the best is between the lines. –Swedish Proverb

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't DoHere’s what I’m currently reading—

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

This book has one of those titles where you just have to look.

13 things. Hmmm…wonder if I’m doing any of them.

So I pick up the book, at least partly to reassure myself I’m not. As I begin to scan the list of 13 things, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

  • Then I get to #5: They don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Uh-oh.
  • Then #10: They don’t give up after the first failure. Uh-oh again. Sometimes I do that.
  • And then #13: They don’t expect immediate results. Yep, guilty.

OK, maybe three out of 13 isn’t so bad. But then I wondered: Am I really not doing ANY of the other 10? Not even a little bit? Is mental strength all or nothing or are there degrees?

Turns out, there are degrees.

Author Amy Morin says, “Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.”

That definitely doesn’t sound like all or nothing. Which means I might be able to increase my mental strength even for ones I initially shook my head to, like #2: They don’t give away their power or #6: They don’t fear taking calculated risks.

“Good habits are important, but it’s often our bad habits that prevent us from reaching our full potential. You can have all the good habits in the world, but if you keep doing the bad habits alongside the good ones, you’ll struggle to reach your goals. Think of it this way: you’re only as good as your worst habits.”

Two of the highlights of the book for me were the real-life case stories that illustrate the 13 mental strengths and the short quizzes at the beginning of each chapter to help you assess whether you’re mentally strong in that particular area.

I also liked the What’s Helpful and What’s Not Helpful sections at the end of each chapter.

For instance, what’s helpful for not worrying about pleasing everyone is to be aware of your emotions before deciding whether to say yes to someone’s request. What’s not helpful is to agree with people and comply with requests to avoid confrontation.

This book is highly accessible—both in terms of being an easy read, and because it’s full of practical suggestions that are realistically applicable to your life.

What do you think? How many of the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do will you have to own up to?

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