I am a sucker for any ‘against the odds’ story, which is what I am so delighted for Tiger Woods’ win in Augusta. He must be one of the most Mentally Tough people on the planet. Despite the setbacks of infidelity, sex scandals, divorce, severe injuries, and painful surgery, he has relentlessly fought back, against all the odds, to win a 15th Major. He did it in front of the worlds media, under the kind of pressure few of us are every likely to comprehend.

Tiger has everyone reeling in awe of what he has achieved. He is an exceptional astounding athlete. The world has forgiven all his indiscretions because he has displayed to the world that he will not give up. He is an inspiration; most of us would love a bit of his resilience, wouldn’t we?

People around Tiger say that he has an overwhelming belief in himself and his ability, and is driven by the need to make his children proud. He has a very clear purpose in his life, and that drives him to succeed. He is persistent and relentless in pursuit of his vision of the life he has designed.

If you were crystal clear about your reason for living and working, your purpose for doing whatever you do, I believe your Mental Toughness would improve. With a clear purpose and direction decisions become easier, answers become clearer; because you now where you are heading. It’s far easier to deal with life’s stresses and strains when you know WHY you are living and working.

Central to development for virtually every one of us on the planet is our ability to be the best that we can be. If we were better able to respond to life with more ‘mental toughness’ we would manage and deal with life’s stresses, pressures and challenges far better. That has to be a good thing, right?

What we do when confronted by events is useful to note, but far more valuable would be to perhaps understand why we behave the way we do. This is fundamentally important if we are to change our behaviour, and understand why somethings creates an issue for us, but not for others.

Wouldn’t it be useful if we had the mindset to deal with life as it happens, taking setbacks in our stride and understanding that we will experience life’s ups and downs but that we can see opportunity, even in the dark times?

Resilience and Mental Toughness are related. Most, if not all, mentally tough individuals are resilient, but not all resilient individuals are mentally tough. The difference lies in the positive component.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Resilience as “the ability to recover quickly from difficulties”. This describes an ability to recover from an adverse situation either largely or completely. It does not necessarily imply that the person has a positive feeling about the negative situation. It simply means “Something has gone awry, but I am going to grit my teeth, pick myself up and I still believe that I can do some or all of what I originally intended, despite this set back , and I am going to do my best to achieve some or all of my goals”.

Both Resilience and Mental Toughness are developed through experiential learning. Either though targeted development, coaching or simply living through life’s experiences. Adopting a positive mindset is important. Being ‘comfortable in your own skin’ and accepting life’s ups and downs as part of the journey through life. It’s part of the process of personal development.

The million dollar question is Can we develop mental Toughness?, and the short answer is yes, we can.

Various well known interventions which enable self development include positive thinking, anxiety control, attentional control, visualisation, etc. But it’s now possible to accurately assess an individual’s mental toughness through the use of a 48 question assessment. Each assessment provides a report which enables us to target interventions more specifically avoiding the ‘one size fits all’ approach which plagues a great deal of individual and organisational development. This assessment embraces neatly, and links well with, a number of relevant concepts about resilience, motivation, leadership and even talent management.

If you or your organisation would like to increase your Mental Toughness, please get in touch.