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Why You Need All 3 Components of Mental Strength to Succeed

05/07/2015 08:34 am ET | Updated May 07, 2016
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Whether you aim to lose 20 pounds, or you want to launch your own business, mental strength is the key to long-term success. After all, you need fierce determination and tenacity to reach your greatest potential.

There will always be obstacles and challenges that stand in your way. Building mental strength will help you develop resilience to those potentials hazards so you can continue on your journey to success. Mentally strong people overcome setbacks with confidence, because adversity only makes them better.

Building mental strength is about learning to regulate your thoughts, manage your emotions, and behave productively despite whatever circumstances you find yourself in. Here's why you need all three of those components for success:

1. Mental Strength Improves Your Ability to Think Realistically

Just because you think something doesn't make it true. Yet many people allow their pessimistic thoughts to prevent them from taking action. Believing things like "I always have bad luck" can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Exaggeratedly positive thoughts can be equally detrimental. Underestimating how difficult a task will be or overestimating your abilities could you leave you unprepared for the reality of the situation. It's imperative to have a realistic inner monologue that will help you recognize danger, while also giving you hope for the future.

Building mental strength involves learning to recognize and replace thinking errors. With practice, you can train your brain to think differently. An improved ability to recognize irrational thoughts will give you a more realistic outlook. Regulating your thoughts gives you better judgement and improved insight, which equals more success.

2. Mental Strength Helps You Control Your Emotions

The road to success is often filled with emotional turmoil. If you lack adequate skills to cope with those emotions, you'll struggle to delay gratification and resist temptation, and you'll be less likely to face your fears and take calculated risks. Mental strength is the key to controlling your emotions, so your emotions don't control you.

Mentally strong people don't ignore their emotions -- in fact, they're acutely aware of their feelings. They possess confidence in their ability to behave contrary to their emotions. So even when something feels uncomfortable, they're willing to press forward if it is for the greater good.

Success requires a certain amount of personal growth -- which means stepping out of your comfort zone. Mental strength will give you the courage to face your fears and become better, because you'll trust in your ability to deal with discomfort. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more confidence you'll gain in your ability to manage your emotions.

3. Mental Strength Increases Productive Behavior

Mental strength helps you dedicate your finite resources -- like time and energy -- into productive activities. You won't waste effort worrying about things you can't control or complaining about things you can't change. Instead, all your resources will go toward activities that will help you move toward your goal.

Developing mental strength will help you learn from mistakes so you can avoid repeating them. It'll also help you recover from failure and overcome challenges. When you invest all of your effort into productive activities, you can accomplish incredible feats.

Mental strength ensures that you're working smarter, not harder. Instead of becoming like a hamster running in a wheel, it helps you get rid of the counterproductive bad habits that are holding you back.

Building Mental Strength

Fortunately, everyone has the ability to build mental strength. Similar to developing physical strength, building mental strength requires hard work and exercise. But if you choose to make mental strength a priority, you'll grow stronger and become better.

You can't climb to the top without the strength to get there. Becoming mentally strong will separate you from the pack and help you achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages. To learn more about her personal story and the viral article turned book, watch the book trailer.