Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness is a personality trait that determines your ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure, and is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, grit and perseverance.

Mental Toughness = Resilience + Confidence

  • Some challenges get dropped on us; for these we need resilience.
  • Some challenges (and their potential rewards) are waiting for us: for these we   need confidence.

Is Mental Toughness Important?

Studies and practice show a strong link with;

  • Performance – accounts for 25% of variation
  • Adoption of positive behaviours
  • Wellbeing

These translate into;

  • Aspirations
  • Employability
  • Openness to Change
  • Transition
  • Commitment to Goal Achievement
  • Social Mobility
  • Motivation
  •  Self-Confidence.

Professor Peter Clough, Professor of Applied Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a pioneer on research into Mental Toughness further describes a mentally tough person as “someone who is comfortable in their own skin, can take whatever comes along in their stride and mostly enjoys the challenge”.

Mental Toughness isn’t being macho or uncaring or self-centered – it is about being tough in the sense of not giving up and being confident that you can prevail, even if the odds are stacked against you.

How Mental Toughness Fits With Current Thinking

The Clough and Strycharzcyk definition of Mental Toughness, featuring the MTQ48 model, fits in well with modern management and leadership practices and contemporary thinking.

It sits neatly alongside the work of such luminaries as:

  • Carol Dweck (Mindset)
  • Martin Seligman (Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life)
  • Paul Tough (How Children Succeed)
  • Matthew Syed (Bounce – The Myth of Talent and The Power of Practice)
  • Daniel Pink (The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us)
  • Jim Collins (Good to Great)
  • Warren Bennis (Leadership)