4 Unsexy Signs Of Impressively High Mental Strength

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High mental strength exists not just in your head, but translates to real-life benefits.

For example, most elite athletes report that at least 50% of superior athletic performance is the result of mental or psychological factors. This means that physical ability, no matter how insane, needs to be complemented by mental toughness for greatness to show.

Additionally, 83% of coaches "rate mental toughness as the most important set of psychological characteristics for determining competitive success."

All of this is to say, there are certain indicators that people have high mental strength. And you may be one of them, too.

Here are 4 signs of impressively high mental strength

1. You believe in tough-self love, not comfortable self-love

When my girlfriend of 3.5 years broke up with me, I was all kinds of messed up. She was my everything and I lost everything in the span of a 14-minute phone call. And I never saw her after that. I never got closure.



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So naturally, I decided to show myself some self-love because I thought I needed it. I decided that I wouldn’t do anything productive and ate as many chocolate pastries as I wanted to. I told myself it was okay. I told myself I deserved the comfort.

But it didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel bad. I felt like this was not self-love. It was self-hate.

Then, I read a book that changed my life: "Can’t Hurt Me" by David Goggins. I didn’t know this when I picked up the book, but this book is the bible of mental strength. And it completely flipped my perspective. I did a 180 and decided not to go easy on myself, but to go tougher than I ever have.

I started working out like crazy. And ate cleaner than ever. And I studied around the clock. And it changed everything. I felt so great. I actually felt like I loved myself.

People think going easy on yourself is self-love. And, in very micro-doses, it might be. But on a macro scale, going easy on yourself and locking yourself deep into the corridors of your comfort zone is not self-love. It’s self-hatred. It’s self-abuse.

People who have high mental strength go easy on themselves very rarely, and only in the smallest of doses. But as a general idea, self-love means challenging yourself and being a fan of tough love.

2. You're an unbroken optimist

I learned this term from Niklas Göke. It means an optimist tries to look at the bright side in every situation. However, an amateur optimist can get a bit pessimistic in certain conditions. But with practice, you can reach the peak of this trait. And that’s when you become an unbroken optimist.



Unbroken optimism is when, no matter how bad the situation might be, you find some sort of positivity in it. Of course, optimism and pessimism cannot be proved objectively. Things don’t happen for good or for bad. They just happen. Subjectively, these traits have huge implications.

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Pessimism makes you hopeless. It makes you feel like there’s no point putting in the work because it’s all going to turn to something bad. But optimism induces a positive feedback loop of high mental strength.

Here’s why: when any event occurs, it might have 10 results. If seven out of those10 are objectively bad, and three are objectively good, optimism makes you relatively ignorant of the bad results, and lets you focus on the good ones — and you judge the whole objectively bad situation as subjectively good.

This means the same bad situation can break a pessimist, yet elevate an unbroken optimist.

3. You get back up stronger

When I started writing, there was one publication I was dying to get into. But their standards were pretty high. And I was okay with that. So I kept submitting. After many rejections, I was eventually accepted as a writer. I was elated. And wanted to get published soon, so I sent more articles.

A few days later, I realized that I was removed as a writer. I was baffled. What just happened? Turns out, I was not meeting their standards repeatedly. And they removed me as a writer instead of having to reject me again and again.



It was bad. I actually cried. Like, real tears. I remained glued to the couch the entire day, feeling bad for myself. But then, I stopped throwing myself a pity party and realized they were right to remove me as a writer because I was sending in bad stories. But I was not going to stop.

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The next day, I started spending more time writing better articles. Eventually, I got accepted as a writer again. And started getting published as well. Repeatedly. I was knocked down, but I came back stronger.

Life will trip you down at every turn. It’s a test to see if you really want what you claim to be after. If you get back up stronger, life respects your mental strength and gives you what you deserve.

4. You lowkey like your disadvantages

Disadvantages can be used in two ways. And how you use them determines how successful you’ll be in life. You can use them as (valid) excuses. Throw a pity party and people will join because your disadvantage is apparent. Or, you can use them as opportunities to succeed in spite of your disadvantages.



For instance, losing both hands can be a pretty valid excuse for not doing something great with your life. But Ibrahim Hamadtou — a guy with extraordinary mental strength — chose the other option.

He lost both his hands in a train accident when he was young, but instead of using it as an excuse, he chose to become a table tennis player. (Yes, he plays table tennis even though he has no hands. He holds the racket in his mouth. No biggie.) He has even represented and won medals for his country in the Paralympic Games.

Now, Ibrahim is famous, and not because he’s a good table tennis player. There are many who play better than him. He’s famous because he’s a great table tennis player in spite of having no hands.

His disadvantage, and how he overcame it, is exactly what made him successful. That’s what people with great mental strength do. They don’t use their lack of privilege or inborn and social disadvantages as excuses. They use them as opportunities to succeed in spite of them.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer and doctor whose work has been published in Better Humans, Medium, Business Insider, Mind Cafe, and more.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.