By Jeff Haden
First the definition:
“The ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.”
Now the word:
The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success.
For example, successful people are great at delaying gratification. Successful people are great at withstanding temptation. Successful people area great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do. (Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared — that does mean they’re brave. Big difference.) Successful people don’t just prioritize, they consistently keep doing what they have decided is most important.
All those qualities require mental strength and toughness — so it’s no coincidence those are some of the qualities of remarkably successful people.
Here are ways you can become mentally stronger — and as a result more successful:
1. Always act as if you are in total control
There’s a quote often credited to Ignatius: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.” (Cool quote.)
The same premise applies to luck. Many people feel luck has a lot to do with success or failure. If they succeed, luck favored them and if they fail luck was against them.
Most successful people do feel good luck played some role in their success. But they don’t wait for good luck… or worry about bad luck… they act as if success or failure is totally within their control. If they succeed, they caused it. If they fail, they caused it.
By not wasting mental energy worrying about what might happen to you, you can put all your effort into making things happen. (And then if you get lucky… hey, you’re even better off.)
You can’t control luck, but you can definitely control you.
2. Put aside things you have no ability to impact
Mental strength is like muscle strength — no one has an unlimited supply. So why waste your power on things you can’t control?
For some people it’s politics. For others it’s family. For others it’s global warming. Whatever it is, you care… and you want others to care.
Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change — but don’t try to make everyone else change.
3. See the past as valuable training… and nothing more
The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.
Then let it go.
Easier said than done? It depends on your perspective. When something bad happens to you, see it as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, don’t just learn from it — see it as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.
The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong but only in terms of how you will make sure that next time you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.
4. Celebrate the success of others
Many people — I guarantee you know at least a few — see success as a zero-sum game: there’s only so much to go around. When someone else shines they think that diminishes the light from their stars.
Resentment sucks up a massive amount of mental energy — energy better applied elsewhere.
When a friend does something awesome, that doesn’t preclude you from doing something awesome. In fact where success is concerned birds of a feather tend to flock together — so draw your unsuccessful friends even closer.
Don’t resent awesomeness. Create and celebrate awesomeness, wherever you find it, and in time you’ll find even more of it in yourself.
5. Never allow yourself to whine. (Or complain. Or criticize.)
Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems always makes you feel worse, not better.
So if something is wrong don’t waste time complaining. Put that mental energy into making the situation better. (Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to make it better.)
So why waste time? Fix it now. Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.
And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just serve as a shoulder they can cry on. Friends don’t let friends whine; friends help friends make their lives better.
6. Focus only on impressing yourself
No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things — but that doesn’t mean they like you.
(Sure, superficially they might seem to like you, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship not based on substance is not a real relationship.)
Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.
And you’ll have a lot more mental energy to spend on the people who really do matter in your life.
7. Count your blessings
Take a second every night before you turn out the light and in that moment, quit worrying about what you don’t have. Quit worrying about what others have that you don’t.
Think about what you do have. You have a lot to be thankful for. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
Feeling better about yourself is the best way to recharge your mental batteries of all.
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) Monday Morning Minute is crafted to provide decision-makers with important information about the economy, investments and corporate retirement plans in a format that allows a reader to consume the information in less than 60 seconds. As an independent, objective investment adviser, LRPC has access to many sources of research and shares the best and most relevant information with its readers each week.
Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent, objective Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing investment advisory, fiduciary compliance, employee education, provider management and plan design services to retirement plan sponsors. The firm currently has contracts in place to provide consulting services on more than $400 million in plan assets. For more information, please contact Robert C. Lawton at (414) 828-4015 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the firm’s website at https://www.lawtonrpc.com. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser.
This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance, tax, legal or investment advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax adviser for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations. Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. The statements in this publication are the opinions and beliefs of the commentator expressed when the commentary was made and are not intended to represent that person’s opinions and beliefs at any other time. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC and should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC offers no tax, legal or accounting advice and any advice contained herein is not specific to any individual, entity or retirement plan, but rather general in nature and, therefore, should not be relied upon for specific investment situations. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser and accepts clients outside of Wisconsin based upon applicable state registration regulations and the “de minimus” exception.