Whether you are an athlete, a marketer, an educationist, an industrialist, an analyst, a writer, a designer, or are in any other profession, you have perhaps heard your mentors and industry experts advise that you nurture a strong mindset and forego a weak mentality. This is for a good reason. 

A strong mindset is crucial to paving the way for your success and is precisely what helps you become mentally tough. You may be wondering what a strong mentality is? What is the difference between a strong and a weak mentality? What perpetuates a weak mindset, and more importantly, how can I recognize and overcome the habits that lead to it?”  

If you like Star Wars, you are probably familiar with Anakin and his character traits. However, he strongly believes he can achieve anything. If you look at him, he nurtures a strong mentality because he has faith in his abilities.  However, he also lacks consistency, flexibility, and patience; he is likely to give up when kicking the ball becomes more challenging and obstacles pour in. But on the other hand, he does not endure hardships until he makes it to the finish line, which is why he never accomplishes anything. When you analyze his personality and mindset from this angle, it looks like he has a weak mentality. This shows that a strong attitude and mentality consist of several elements.  

First, you need to have complete faith in your capabilities. You must realize and acknowledge that you are powerful, talented, and worthy of success and that if you keep investing effort in your cause, you will achieve it in the end. 

Second, you need to be consistent in your efforts. Working 12 hours one day and not working at all for the next five days in a row will not get you anywhere. The output you achieve in one day will become neutral when you factor in the aspect of no yield over the next five days. Only by consistently putting in the effort do you yield a compound effect. This should tell you that constructive and desired results come from regular activity and meaningful action taken daily. This is part of what it means to be mentally tough.  

Think of a time when you worked out in the gym for 30-60 minutes and made sure you ate a healthy diet. You lost four pounds in two weeks and felt elated at your performance. Think about how you quickly gained back those four pounds when you started eating cheeseburgers daily with no physical activity; Had you consistently worked out for that week and followed a healthy diet, you would likely have lost even more weight. 

Third, you need to be flexible in approaching and handling obstacles and goals. You must plan for your goals; you must have an action plan that complements your goals so that you know where you are heading, why you need to take a specific route, and what steps you need to take at what time. That notwithstanding, you do not need to approach the plan with rigidity. You must factor in room for flexibility and changes.  

Remember that the only thing constant in life is change; no matter what, change happens in one way or another. For example, you may think sticking to your grueling training schedule will help you bag gold at the Olympics in the 100-meter dash category, but just when you seem about ready to achieve your aim, you slip while going down a flight of stairs and fracture your ankle. You may think you have the perfect marketing plan to help your client and amount to a good profit for you, but the next day, you learn about a new economic reform that will likely significantly minimize your profit margins. 

This is how life is: unpredictable, risky, and tough.  

Problems come out of nowhere, take weird, frightening shapes, and try their best to knock you off the path to your goals. If you let them knock you down permanently, you are not mentally strong, It would be best if you challenged them back, and sometimes, the best way to do this is by adopting a flexible attitude towards your problem and the end goal.  

It is okay not to know everything and not have everything figured out beforehand. Sometimes, uncertainty is your biggest asset because it helps you mold yourself according to the situation. When you encounter a challenge, be ready to embrace it, and change course according to it. 
For instance, if you cannot compete in the Olympics this year, perhaps it is because you would not have won this year. However, it may be an opportunity in disguise if you find out you need an additional degree to qualify for a scholarship grant. When you become flexible, you stop fueling the problems and instead empower yourself. 

Fourth, it would be best if you were extremely patient when you begin the voyage towards your goals and success. Patience is a virtue not many have, so only those who genuinely possess it can move past the tunnel of darkness and step on the road of light. During your journey, you will encounter countless obstacles. Some will be small and manageable, but others will be gigantic and intense. Some may even knock you down to the extent that you feel you may never get back up again; in such times, you need to power through.  

Remember how Thomas Edison failed 9999 times at creating a successful invention; even after so many failures, he did not give up. Unfortunately, that is not the case with most of us; when many fail twice, we often surmise that the goal is not for us.  

Even after failing 9999 times, Edison still yearned to create something meaningful, which is why he finally made the light bulb on his 10,000th try. That is what mental toughness and a strong mentality look like. He was patient; he persevered and proved his mettle. Later, he went on to patent all his other failed inventions and turned them into successful products. 

The fact of the matter is that you need to be persistent when approaching a specific goal, and to embrace your plan, you need to persevere through the long-suffering that leads to the destination. This is not easy, but do not forget that success is never easy. If you are impatient, if you often choose to give in to your hardships instead of persevering through them, if you act rigidly towards your goals and plans, and if you usually take the easy road when the going gets tough, you are mentally weak. 
If you do not put in the daily effort to achieve your goal, and most importantly, if you do not believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to and that your potential can always grow, you nurture a weak mentality. This kind of mentality will never help you accomplish anything in life.  


  • Dr. Tomi Mitchell

    M.D | Leadership Coach| Wellness & Productivity Coach

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell Holistic Wellness Strategies

    Dr. Tomi Mitchell, MD, empowers executives, lawyers, doctors, business owners, and other leaders to eliminate burnout and increase workplace productivity and relationships.  She uses her three-step framework, Embrace, Evaluate & Energize, to empower her clients to have clarity. 

    As a public speaker and trainer, she brings energy to the crowd, captures their attention, and gives them clear, actionable steps to apply immediately to their life. Dr. Tomi Mitchell believes in getting to the root causes of life's challenges, instead of taking a temporary BandAid approach to life. She is a writer, with a book coming out in Summer 2023. She is also the host of The Mental Health & Wellness Show.  To learn more about her framework, check out the following link: Learn More.