Believe it or not, it takes more than the gift of intelligence to be successful in life. Even those who were lucky enough to be born with a special gift have to actually do work in order to put that gift to good use. Regardless of how gifted you are, you can find success on your own terms by developing mental toughness. Mental strength helps you push forward beyond your natural intelligence. Those who have the will to survive and keep pushing will certainly end up being more successful than those who were born into a talented body but do nothing with it.
1. Develop emotional intelligence
As children, we experience a wide range of emotions, and often have no idea why we feel the way we do. As we grow older, it’s important that we begin to acknowledge our feelings, and discover exactly what makes us happy, sad, angry, or upset. When a person is able to harness his emotions into mental strength and change a negative mood into a positive one with a few quick switches, he’ll be on the path to true success.
2. Be confident
You can have all the talent in the world and still get absolutely nowhere if you don’t have confidence in your abilities. In The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo: “Don’t think you can; know you can.” Confidence isn’t something you can fake; people will see right through it. But if you have faith in not only your abilities, but in the knowledge that you’ve put in the effort required to succeed, your mental strength will radiate from you wherever you go.
3. Embrace failure
Of course, you won’t succeed every time you set out to do something. But failure is not the end of the world. In fact, most of the time you can learn more from failing than you can from succeeding. Picture yourself getting a math test back after your teacher has graded it: If you earned a 100%, there’s nothing more you can learn about that specific topic (at least as far as the class goes). However, if you got only 50% of the questions right, there’s still a lot to learn. Although a 50% is a failing grade, that does not mean you’re a total failure; you can always learn what you haven’t already.
4. Don’t dwell but still reflect
If you don’t reflect on your past mistakes, you won’t learn anything. And you certainly won’t continue to grow if you keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Figure out what went wrong, and do everything in your power to correct these missteps. In the case of the math test: Did you not study enough? Did you study the wrong information? Did you stay up too late the night before? Once you pinpoint the exact moments that led to your downfall, you’re in a great position to fix them. It will take work, but it will be worth it the next time a similar situation arises.
5. Don’t hold back
Once you embrace the idea that failure is simply a stepping stone toward success, you won’t fear it as much. You’ll start taking chances where you would have held back in the past. Instead of wondering “What if I screw up?” you’ll think “What if I never try?” In almost all cases, it’s better to have tried and messed up than to have simply given up in the first place. You’ll always regret the things you never tried in life, so do as much as possible while you have the chance.
6. Stay positive
Of course, being mentally tough means you have an overall positive outlook on life. This requires some work on your part. You definitely need to cut toxic friends out of your life; they only breed negativity, and will hold you back from your true potential. When things aren’t going your way, you can’t crawl into bed and wait for the problem to pass; it won’t. You have to face it, and treat every moment of your life as it is: a learning experience.
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