How did Tiger Woods win 15 major championships in golf? How did 42 to 1 underdog Buster Douglas knockout Mike Tyson in the 1990 boxing match that shocked the world? How does the President of the United States get through each day? How do great performers consistently do great things?
While physical ability, intelligence and talent certainly play a role, the greatest tool of all champions is mental toughness.
The best part is that mental toughness is the answer for anyone who wants to accomplish a goal and live a more fulfilling life…and it’s free. The only prerequisite: knowing how to tap into it.
Here are six mental toughness traits of all successful people.
What All The Great Ones Do
1. Utilize compartmentalization
Being able to compartmentalize your emotions is a hallmark characteristic of world-class champions. It means being able to work on and solve one problem at a time, without the emotions of one problem bleeding into the solutions of the others.
Commit to compartmentalizing problems by focusing exclusively on one problem at a time. Imagine you are the President of The United States. You must keep a clear, unemotional mind during the problem-solving process. The masses multitask. The great ones focus.
Related: Focus Better With These Simple Steps
2. Operate from objective reality
Most people suffer from mild to severe delusion in relation to their efforts and competencies. Successful people, on the other hand, are brutally honest with themselves and tend to look reality right in the face, even if it’s not what they want to see.
Make a commitment to check delusion at the door. Be honest and ask this critical thinking question: Are my habits, actions, and behaviors congruent with the vision I have for my life? Self-deception and delusion have no place in the professional performer’s consciousness.
3. Manufacture their own self-image
Self-image is the reputation we have with ourselves, and most people suffer from some type of inferiority complex. The most mentally tough people overcome this problem by realizing that everyone on the planet is inferior and superior to everyone in some way. The key is focusing on your intelligences, personality styles and experience. The question isn’t ‘Are you smart?’ It’s, ‘How are you smart?’
Ask this critical thinking question of yourself: Do you have the self-image necessary to manifest your ultimate vision for your life? If the answer is no, write down three solid affirmations about your vision that will help you develop a world-class self-image.
Related: 5 Ways To Embrace Self-Love
4. Seek balance
In a perfect world, we would be able to strike the perfect balance between work, life and play. Even world-class performers have trouble with this, but they know excess cognition is the enemy of creativity and clarity. They make time to recharge, refresh and rejuvenate.
On a scale of one to seven, seven being most balanced, how balanced has your life been during the past six months? Make a commitment to add or subtract one activity that would increase your score by at least one point.
5. Prepare to win
Most people are always looking for the easy road or looking to ‘wing it’ and then they are confounded by their lack of success. The great ones are always charting and changing their course to be certain everything is on track. The great ones have learned to delay their gratification as long as necessary in order to breathe life into their goals and dreams.
Commit to creating a 90 day action plan to carry you closer toward your ultimate vision for your life. 90 days is long enough to build momentum and short enough to keep your attention. Toward the end of this time, create another 90 day action plan. This habit is one you’ll find among many Fortune 500 top performers.
6. Champions aren’t addicted to the approval of others
You are responsible to be honest, sincere and to act with integrity. You are not responsible for how others perceive or behave towards you. It’s nice if they like you, but if they don’t it’s not your problem. Approval addiction is one of the worst psychological addictions one can have because it’s conformity at all costs. Once you overcome it, you are free of the psychological chains holding you down from experiencing world class success.
On a scale of one to seven, with seven being highest, how high is your need to be approved and validated by other people? Next, ask your spouse or best friend to rate you on the same scale, and then compare answers.
No matter what you want to accomplish in life, whether it’s professional, personal or anything else, mental toughness is the solution. All the champions know that. And best of all, mental toughness is a skill that can be learned, and the tougher you get, the bigger you’ll dream and the more fun you’ll have.
Steve Siebold is author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class and a former professional athlete. He is a speaker and consultant to Fortune 500 sales and management teams, professional athletes and other super achievers.
Photo by Stephen Spraggon