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The 4 Key Characteristics of Mental Toughness

PJ Zafra



The 4 Key Characteristics of Mental Toughness

What separates average people from extraordinary individuals?

It’s mental toughness. Life will always throw challenges and obstacles along your way. That’s just how life is. Some people call it unfair while other people see it as an opportunity to test their mental toughness and stretch out of their comfort zones.

Mental toughness is critical for anyone who wants to move forward.

It’s what will allow anyone to persevere in the face of challenges and obstacles. In short, when things get hard, you shrug it off and keep moving forward. This is a common trait to some of the world’s greatest athletes.

Realize that obstacles and challenges are only temporary. For any concern or issue, there is always a solution. Knowing how to be mentally tough is a step forward in the right direction.

Life will throw the unexpected but this time, you can be prepared and equipped with the proper knowledge and characteristics that will allow you to plow through the hard times and come out a wiser and stronger individual.


4 Key Characteristics of Mental Toughness

Realize that obstacles and challenges are only temporary. For any concern or issue, there is always a solution. Knowing how to be mentally tough is a step forward in the right direction.

Life will throw the unexpected but this time, you can be prepared and equipped with the proper knowledge and characteristics that will allow you to plow through the hard times and come out a wiser and stronger individual.

There are 4 core components to mental toughness. Let’s start diving into it:


1. Confidence

How can anyone be mentally tough if they aren’t confident in their knowledge and skills? How can anyone move forward in life if they simply don’t believe in themselves?

Confidence is important especially during hard times. Instead of running away from a problem, a person who is confident will tackle it head on and if they don’t know the answer, they will search for it.

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Always keep in mind that victory is born in your mind. Before something happens, you think it. Think of it enough times and eventually, it will get wired deep within your subconscious mind where you’ll believe in it.

You’ll start acting, thinking, talking and moving according to your thoughts.

So let me ask you, what type of thoughts are you entertaining and what type of energy do they bring to the table?

Is it helping you or holding you back?

When things get tough, instead of saying “I hope nothing happens” or “I sure hope I can handle this”, say “I can handle this.” or “I know I’m knowledgeable and skilled enough to solve this.”

If you think you don’t have the answers, then go out and search for them.


2. Challenge

Life will always challenge you whether you like it or not.

Will you keep complaining about the inevitable or adapt?

Do you think crocodiles, which have been around for over 200 million years, weren’t faced with challenges?

They still face tons of challenges today. The only reason why they’re still alive today is because they’re great examples of a species that can adapt to their environments.

Life is all about adapting. Things never remain the same so like it or not, we need to adapt. Life will always challenge and push us. The only way to come out on top is to constantly grow and adapt.

Believe it or not but challenges are not meant to break us; they make us into who we really are and show us what we’re really capable of. You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing if you simply rise up to the occasion and give it your all.

Scared of failing?

Don’t worry about that. Failing is a part of the learning process. You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you so don’t fret on that too much. Focus more on moving forward every single day. Become a better version of yourself than you were yesterday.

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Think about this, what makes a great action movie? A series of challenges, don’t you agree? Would you really want to watch a movie where the main character just easily blazes through everything in front of him/her?

Think of your life the same way.

Challenges offer variety and an opportunity to grow. Embrace it. Take it head on and be excited because succeed or fail…you will always come out a different person.


3. Control

People who are mentally tough are aware of the things they can control: how they react to different outcomes, the thoughts they entertain their performance, emotions, etc. and use this to their advantage.

Because they are fully-aware of what they can control, they become more confident, excited and motivated to get things done.

They believe that they have the ability to alter certain situations and come up with the best outcome possible and guess what… they’re usually right.

People who are mentally tough are not only aware of the things that they can control, but they are also fully aware and respect the things that they have no control over like: changes in the environment, what other people say about them, etc.

They know that it’s a waste of time and effort therefore they simply learn to move past the things they can’t control. They mastered adapting and accepting what they have and don’t have control over.


4. Commitment

People who succeed are people who start something and finish it. They stick around until their goal is met. Is that something that you do? The more committed you are at something, the bigger chance you will succeed at it.

A student who is committed to learning and finding answers will find it. A student who is not committed will always be the one struggling.

Commitment is what separates the action takers from the people who constantly move around never finishing anything.

Related:  9 Pathways to Burnout and How to Avoid Taking Them



Now you know what it takes to be mentally tough. Learn from it, model it and integrate it into your life and be amazed with the changes.

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Confidence
  2. Challenge
  3. Control
  4. Commitment

Do you possess mental toughness? Leave a comment below.

Hey there, I'm Pete “PJ” Zafra and I'm an online entrepreneur and blogger. I'm extremely passionate about sharing lessons on personal development, mindset, relationship building, business strategies and various internet marketing techniques. Check out my blog which is frequently updated with valuable information at



  1. George Felix

    Feb 16, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Hey Pj,
    Nice post!
    Victory begins in your mind. Loved that. It all starts with our thoughts. I am a great believer of the Law of Attraction. Reading your post was like revision of the law.
    Thank you!

    George Felix

    • PJ Zafra

      Feb 16, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Hey there George,

      Thank you very much. I’m glad to hear you found value in this post.

      Plant the right seeds in your mind and the right plants grow. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by.

      PJ Zafra

  2. Claire Marie Algarme

    Feb 16, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I found myself nodding as I read through your post. I specially highlight no. 3, control. I always tell my friends that we do the best of things we can control and for those we can’t, especially external factors, we can still control how we react to them and how we respond to the situation. We have the choice to see the brighter side of things and move on towards improving ourselves or to put the blame on others and whine about the things that are beyond our control.

  3. Mommy Roxi

    Feb 17, 2016 at 2:18 am

    I agree in all of these. I have to work on the ‘control’ aspect of my mental toughness.

  4. Elizabeth O.

    Feb 17, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Those are all strong characteristics, I love how you described each one of them. Commitment is definitely important because without it, the other three are just not as good. I hope that makes sense. Lol.

  5. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    Feb 17, 2016 at 6:06 am

    Ah, self control and commitment are keys to mental toughness indeed. 🙂

  6. Katrina Centeno

    Feb 17, 2016 at 8:22 am

    True. I want to add that of the 4 characteristics, I sometimes lack confidence. But I lack in confidence I back it up with prayers. With prayers, I know that someone up there is looking out for me so I should not fear.

  7. Franc Ramon

    Feb 17, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Mental toughness really takes time to develop. Sometimes, it’s just being in more tough situation and lingering through it. We need to be confident with ourselves as well as adaptable to the challenge.

  8. Pal Raine

    Feb 17, 2016 at 10:59 am

    All three for me are not so tough, but the fourth one is very difficult to handle..the COMMITMENT. You can have all the CONFIDENCE, you finish all the CHALLENGES, and you can CONTROL yourself…but the COMMITMENT is always a failure. Not a failure in a way that you cannot achieve your may achieve your goal but at the end you fail to deliver the commitment in terms of relationship, to your work and to the people around you.

  9. R U S S

    Feb 17, 2016 at 11:50 am

    This was such a good read. I’m adding another C to your list – Composure. It’s something that I think mentally tough people should have. This is about staying cool and poised despite challenges & tough situations. More like grace under pressure. It helps you think straight and make right decisions.

  10. Pooja Kawatra

    Feb 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Well ! All 4 are such a strong points and we know to be on a right track we have to follow all.

  11. Sunshine Kelly

    Feb 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I will keep the 4Cs in mind to be tough whenever I faced any difficulties in life. Thanks for the tips and thoughts.

  12. Tiffany Yong

    Feb 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Mental toughness is not something that the youngsters have nowadays. I like how you put the 4Cs down properly in words and make it simple for the readers to follow!

  13. ARISA

    Feb 17, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks for pointing these facts out, teenagers should read this post before labeling themselves as victims of mental illnesses (self diagnose lol). It’s all the the head sometimes.

  14. Shubhada

    Feb 17, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Great post! Our mind makes or breaks us. Not all people are mentally strong by default but we should keep reminding ourselves about the power of our own inner self .

  15. Fred Erick

    Feb 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I bookmarked this post. It is spot on. I can apply these characteristics in my life. Thank you for this.

  16. Fred

    Feb 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I am having a very tough week this very week. Challenges every day that cause me to lose sleep and miss meals. I would like to think I have developed enough mental toughness through the years to get through weeks like this.

  17. Yvonne Bertoldo

    Feb 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I believe I can do the first three but the fourth is the hardest. Commitment is something that you must willingly do and apply in all things to gain success which hopefully I get to apply on everything I do.

  18. Buford Bourns

    Mar 12, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    People who embrace challenges tend to have an extraordinary ability to think and work outside the box. They enjoy exercising creativity, exploring innovation, and accepting some degree of risk. Why? They are keenly focused on achieving positive outcomes. Spiritual teacher and

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