Patterns of Mentally Strong People


Are you mentally strong ? How do you know ? By the way, do you know yourself well enough ? These are some questions I thought to write about. Of course, I am not here to motivate anyone. But rather I want to write based on me watching people and my close friends. How some differentiate themselves being strong minded and face adversity.

For example, let me share some stories without naming my friends ( they know who they are :) ). This is also an opportunity for me to applaud their efforts which I would have never said otherwise.

Story 1

One of my friend works in physically demanding job, when he got really sick(serious one), everyone around him advised to take up a desk job. He did take it up, but only to return to the field he enjoys. Though it is easy to justify that it will pay him more, but it is hard not to notice that he didn’t quit. He fought back. This motivates me.

Story 2

This is about the one who thought he is an average in school and undergrad. He made it to abroad and worked like anyone else. One fine day with a 3 yr old kid and working spouse, he plunged to do MBA. He could very well stay his course and led an easy life. But, he chose to realize his full potential amidst a busy personal life to put himself in an optimal performance zone(more on this later)

Story 3

Once his dad diagnosed with Cancer, my friend was optimistic all through the time. Never complained but always looking for better ways to treat it. He shifted his job locations, he chose better care. Never once he complained. Always moving forward making the best use of his resources.

Story 4

His kid was not feeling well. Had some rare illness that made him to shift from high paying job on foreign land to low paying one near a place he can afford the treatment. But then he could have settled for less, but he always trusted his skill and he made it to best use. He grew in his roles and now is a position where his new positions are getting celebrated in newspapers. Never settle, always be growing.

These stories are not uncommon, but what is not common is the mindset of these strong-willed people. They decided what’s best for them. But you find a common pattern in them that they never settle, never complain, trying to be 1% better every day etc. I thought I will write down some patterns I observed from many of my friends and people I respect.

Focus on things you can control

This is a common pattern I have noticed them doing over a period of time and continue to do. They have an innate ability to figure what they can control and what they can’t. This is a great skill to have and develop. This helps them navigate adversities better than many.

They don’t complain

Strong-willed people focus on the bright side of things. Lots of gratitude and continue to keep their focus in that. They don’t complain, or they keep it to minimum. They know if they tread through rough waters, they will eventually reach their destination.

They are not absolute

They never use these words “always”, “should be”, “never”. This means they are open for change and expect change when they plan. Planning for adversity is a quality that motivates me when I see that in people. Life is not bed of roses nor thrones. It’s a mixed bag. They know it.

They don’t worry about pleasing others

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

Living life in their own terms. There is this saying “It is difficult to think, so people judge”. So, strong minded ones play their own game and strive to be a better version of oneself.

Winners learn to filter and selectively implement advice—take the signal, skip the noise. - Sahil Bloom

They get out of their comfort zone

3 psychological states image

In terms of psychological states, they strive to be in optimal performance zone all the time. It means, they take calculated risks and never be too comfortable. They stretch themselves and use themselves in optimal ways to seek growth.

They are self-motivated

Optimal performance zone is critical for one’s growth. To be in this zone for long period of time, they need purpose and that in turn motivates. They don’t seek external motivation rather look inwards. They know they can achieve anything if they put their mind to.

Appreciate Chaos

Life is not predictable and so expecting things to be in control is stupidity. Embracing chaos is only way out. So, it goes back to first point of focusing on things you can control. Strong-willed see chaos as opportunity or law of nature. They don’t fight it, but rather learn to live with it.

Don’t feel sorry for themselves

It is easy to go into state of “self-pity”. Reality is far from it. Life can be filled with “Ifs” and “Buts”. If you focus on them, you lose what is right in front of you. Instead of feeling sorry, they move past them. They try to do best they can, with what they have at the moment.

They don’t give up

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Measure of man’s grit is the extent to which they won’t give up easy. Nothing in life is given it applies to rich as well as poor. Nothing comes easy. Everything takes an effort and willingness to put in one is what differentiates successful ones from the rest. More you are ready to fight, more the probability of you discovering your true potential

They don’t look for quick results

“Marathon vs Sprint” analogy is the right one. Life is a marathon and never a sprint. Effort we put day in and day out compounds. Achievers and Strong-willed make their work look effortless. It is an outcome of a consistent practice over time.

Small things done right compounds over time. It will pick up mass and pace eventually. I would recommend this book by James Clear - Atomic Habits.

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” - Steve Jobs

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