The 7 Habits of Mentally Resilient People
by Mark Jenney
Many people in the business world have read Stephen Covey’s life-altering book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — or they’re at least familiar with the principles explained within. You’ve surely heard many of the big ones: begin with the end in mind, seek to understand, and of course, synergize. We’ve all had time to reflect on how to be more effective at work, but what about improving our mental resilience? Our cerebral toughness? Our — to use a bit of vernacular — grit? How can we maintain and even improve our character and resolve when we’re faced with difficult situations?
It certainly isn’t easy. However, just as we made efforts to improve our effectiveness and success by looking at the habits of people who embody those characteristics, we can boost our resilience by taking note of the habits of highly resilient people. Covey may not have penned a sequel to his best seller entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Resilient People, but not to worry — we’ve got you covered. Here are seven things that highly resilient people do regularly, all of which you can do to boost your mental toughness and increase your success.
1. They maintain their cool. We’re emotional creatures, and as such, it’s easy to let emotions get the best of us. However, losing your cool expends your mental resources and allows control of situations to slip away from you. To prove your grit and keep your resilience, maintain control of your emotions and, by extension, your given predicament.
2. They recognize that some things are beyond their control. We’re all familiar with the first part of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” As much as we’d love to have control over every aspect of our lives, we simply have to understand that some things are not under our power. The behavior of other people, the weather, global politics — these are all good examples. Instead, focus on the things that you can control: your demeanor, your actions, and your ability to relate to others.
3. They don’t dwell on the past — but they don’t disregard it either. Listen: mistakes get made. You certainly aren’t proud of them, but you should learn from them. Give yourself time to reflect on a delicate situation that could have been handled differently, resolve to do better next time, and then let it go. When your past occupies your everyday thoughts, you’re never really present for anything. And, it comes across as mentally weak.
4. They stay positive. Putting out negative energy and complaining about things does nothing but lessen your resolve and make the people around you miserable. Instead, focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Remember, mentally resilient people face adversity with solutions, not criticism.
5. They are gracious. Resentment, bitterness, jealousy — nothing good comes from the time and energy spent on these emotions. Instead, when others are successful, congratulate them and wish them well (and mean it). Remember, success is not a finite resource, and just because someone else has done well doesn’t mean that you won’t too. Being gracious keeps your mental strength up.
6. They do what makes them happy. You try to impress your boss, your coworkers, and even your friends and family, but ultimately, if doing so makes you miserable, you’ve failed. We understand that keeping others happy is an important part of any job, but first, make yourself happy. It takes a lot of mental energy to be someone you’re not, and that’s energy that can better used in forging real connections with the people around you.
7. They are thankful. As bad as a situation may be, it’s important to recognize all of the good things in your life. More than living in the present, more than being positive, and more than being happy, feeling thankful for what you do have will help you weather any work-related storm.
What are Your Habits?
Like the habits of highly effective people, the habits of highly resilient people aren’t all that hard to implement. Like all changes in life, they require that you recognize the problem and put some thought into making necessary improvements. These don’t necessarily all have to be implemented at once, but once you do implement them, you’ll be surprised at how easy they are to maintain; they are habits, after all! Take them as your own, and you should soon see a change for the better in your own mental resilience.