What does it mean to be mentally tough? Why do top achievers and
performers revere it? Does mental toughness imply being insensitive,
uncaring and rude? Does it mean being cold, selfish, unethical and
overly aggressive? Not at all. An individual with mental toughness
can be quite well mannered, ethical, friendly, helpful, affable
and warm. The quality of mental toughness means that an individual
has the ability to master the naturally unmanageable desires of
the body and mind and bring them under a discipline to achieve and
sustain demanding goals and performance under pressure.
Mental toughness is something championship athletes possess. Any
military person should have plenty of it. Police and fire personnel
personify it. Disciplined musicians, theater actors and public speakers
have it. Sales people and leaders display it every day.
This article describes these 69 characteristics of mental toughness.
Use it to discuss the nuances and seeming paradoxes of this highly
- Makes a commitment
- Displays self-sacrifice
- Loves the battle
- Loves pressure
- Loves competition
- Handles mind games
- Does not sabotage self
- Has mature emotional control
- Can perform injured
- Does not beat self
- Knows how to win
- High self-esteem
- High self confidence
- Controls slumps
- Controls burnout
- Loves the game
- Ability to handle pain and discomfort
- More than adequate physical fitness
- Has endurance and persistence
- Bounces back from adversity
- Uses challenges to grow
- Realistic viewpoints and judgments
- Uses reality checks
- Take-charge mind set
- Thinks like a winner
- Takes calculated and bold risks
- Controls what they can and lets the rest go
- Assertive and aggressive
- Killer instinct
- Will to prepare to win
- Will to win
- Loves to win
- Hates to lose
- Makes own luck
- Raises game when needed
- Gives 110%, but doesn't try too hard
- Leaves no regrets after a contest
- Has mental discipline
- Sees difficulties as challenges
- Accepts the stress and pain of competition
- Handles the paradox of success
- Pushes self when necessary
- Overcomes or pushes past fears
- Has high standards
- Loves hard work
- Learns well from mistakes
- Handles losing emotionally
- Recovers quickly from mistakes
- Learns from mistakes and losses
- Adjusts tactics and performance mid-stride
- Paces self, knows how to recover
- Not sensitive to criticism and coaching
- Unwavering concentration
- Maintains focus
- High achiever, not a perfectionist
- Fair sportsmanship
- Competes fully-no tanking
- Controls momentum
- Shows excellent personal image to opponent
- Influences key players
- Visualizes success
- Stays centered
- Sets realistic goals
- Has an advance game plan
- Has contingency plans
- Controls the clock
10 Questions About These 69 Mental Toughness Characteristics
- How can you TELL when someone is mentally tough?
- How can you tell when someone does NOT have mental toughness?
- What are the ADVANTAGES of being mentally tough?
- What PROBLEMS arise when an individual is NOT mentally tough?
- How does one ACHIEVE mental toughness?
- In WHAT ARENAS is mental toughness desirable?
- WHO would you point to as EXAMPLES of mental toughness?
- What are some BARRIERS that PREVENT people from achieving mental
- What are some MISCONCEPTIONS about mental toughness?
- What about being mentally tough seems PARADOXICAL AND CONTRADICTORY?
Copyright © 2004-2008 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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