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5 Things Mentally Tough People Don’t Do



Mental Toughness Arnold Schwarzenegger

Whether you are on the court or in the board room. Mental strength is demanded on a day to day basis for those in high profile positions. Athlete’s, CEO’s and risk hungry Entrepreneurs excel in their fields only by pursuing their goals with a thick skin and a high level of mental strength.

In this article, Sports and Performance Psychologist “Justin Sua” tells us what it takes to be mentally strong enough to take on the big wigs in the arena.


Are you mentally tough enough?


1) They don’t feel sorry for themselves

They understand that complaining doesn’t make the situation better.

They know that people won’t treat them the way they want to be treated, circumstances might not be ideal, and they will experience adversity; however, rather than complain about the negative aspects of their situation, they focus on what they want to happen and what they’re going to do about it.


2) They don’t give people power over them

They are not people pleasers.

They are relentless in their pursuit of their passion and aren’t worried about what other people think.

They give power to what they focus on, and if they waste their time focusing on the opinions of others, they lose sight of the things that will make them truly successful.


3) They don’t avoid change

They are always looking for ways to evolve. They believe that if they continue to give their best, their best will continue to get better over time.

With the competition continuing to get bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter; it’s important to have the mindset to improve by learning from successes and failures.


4) They don’t play small

The mentally tough swing for the fences and know that it might mean striking out a few times (or many times). Their purpose for achieving greatness casts away their fear of failure. They refuse to tip-toe through life, they intend on creating a legacy for the future by making an impact in the here-and-now.


5) They don’t focus on things they can’t control

They refuse to waste time focusing on things they can’t control because there is nothing they can do about it!

They understand that the less control a person feels the more susceptible they are to making poor decisions, falling into bad habits, and crumbling under pressure.


Muhammad Ali mental strength


Justin Su'a in an expert in sport and performance psychology, the author of, "Parent Pep Talks” and the Head of Mental Conditioning at the IMG Academy, the world-leading provider of athletic and personal development training programs for youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes, located in Bradenton, Florida. Follow Justin on Twitter: @justinsua



  1. @StephenGopaul

    Sep 12, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Short and sweet.

  2. skipprichard1

    Sep 3, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I appreciate this list for its simplicity and directness. Obviously there are exceptions, but these are the bold moves to move you forward. This is particularly a good list to review when you are tentative and slow to act.

  3. David King

    Sep 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I wonder where that puts someone like me, that literally loves the discomfort of training.

  4. Dionne

    Sep 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Change is good! Change is what makes you grow as a person. Always like changing!

  5. e lugsdin

    Aug 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    First of all you need the body and other attributes to be a pro dancer for instance.. There are some people even with all the teaching and effort will never make it. so people need to focus on their potential and it may lay in other areas. This is where our education fails all but the mainstream candidates. Attitude and focus will never help you if you are in the wrong areas. The influence on genetic advantage will always mean that in all areas of competition certain individuals will always struggle to attain the success they expect from all of their training education and experience. The real skill is recognising the appropriate area to concentrate efforts.

  6. Anthony

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Gary and David, this will be my last response as we both have opinions that can’t seem to see eye to eye……we’ll agree to disagree, yea?.

    I would however love for you to please explain to me (because you keep comparing it to sports where drugs ARE illegal and it IS cheating) how it is ill ethical or cheating when it is NOT banned and EVERYONE in the sport is using it LEGALLY. It is like calling Usain Bolt a cheat for wearing shoes even though everyone else is and it is a legal to do.

    Sports where PEID’s are banned (Athletics, Baseball etc.) = Cheating
    Sports where PEID’s are legal and uniformally taken amongst competitors (Mr Olympia Bodybuilding Competition) = Not cheating

    I don’t know how to simplify that anymore for you guys who keep calling Arnold a cheat for taking PEID’s in bodybuilding.

    His infidelity (which I have repetitively stated I don’t condone) has nothing to do with the content in this article or his sporting success.

    I do wish you guys all the best in finding someone as successful as Arnold or Ali, to provide you with inspiration who haven’t made poor choices in their personal lives.

    • Gary

      Sep 3, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Fair call Anthony. Healthy debate is always good

  7. TJ Hale (@SharkTankPdCast)

    Aug 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Great article – I will be linking to it in my newsletter. NUmber 1 & 2 could fix most people’s problems.


  8. Derek Neighbors

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Justin. Spot on.

  9. anaris

    Aug 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Wait… you think that people who start off powerless but end up controlling things don’t think about the things they can’t yet control?

    Because that is pretty much what half of all inventors do, let alone entrepreneurs and investors. Obsessive pursuit of dreams and goals that are currently out of reach is the central force of success for many people.

    • Wen Mei

      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      I don’t think that kind of control is meant. Rather, you cannot control *everything* in your environment *ever* (what will happen by chance, the people and their actions and choices around you etc) So why bother trying to control situations or people out of fear for an (otherwise) negative outcome. It doesn’t serve anyone. Least of all yourself.

      Well that was how I read it 🙂

    • YourMom

      Sep 4, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      Those were obviously things they COULD control.

  10. vinodha

    Aug 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm


  11. Bdibur

    Aug 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    The article is about success and achievement. Obviously, there has to be an equal – OR HIGHER – attention given to the personal growth and development of a human aspect. But the advice in that regard wouldn’t be much different – it takes just as much determination and effort to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.

  12. Gary

    Aug 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

    What? Anthony Your quote (People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements) NO they shouldn’t and NO they don’t. Clearly your self perceived clever attacks on people with different views here require you to return a comment each time someone has their say that u don’t agree with. Business/career different from personal life actions? Thats humorous. Drug cheats are drug cheats and because others are doing it, doesn’t make it right. The article is quite good but the image doesn’t support the message. That’s the point originally made. If u wanna argue his success no problem. But u can’t take bits if a journey and make excuses for the rest.

  13. Sonia

    Aug 30, 2013 at 5:31 am

    So I presume we are only discussing sporting, entrepreneurial success. Relationship and lifeskills also require self discipline and focus. Arnie does not tick all of the boxes but I guess it depends on what your aspirations are.

  14. Tom Gerace

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Kinda depends on your definition of success doesn’t it? If fame and glory at any cost is your idea of a life well lived I personally believe you are helping to drive the wagon of societal decline…..

  15. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Scott…….EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE he ever competed against in professional bodybuilding was on performance enhancing drugs. It is a part of the trade, it wasn’t a question of sacrificing ‘ethics’. Also, if you think for a second that just because Arnold was on PIED’s meant he didn’t work hard tells me you are even more ignorant than your initial post suggests.

    Another thing, I can’t understand why his infedelity keeps being brought up either. Yes, it is a terrible thing to do but I can’t see what that has to do with what and how he has achieved what he has? People need to differentiate personal life actions and business/career achievements.

    P.S. Great article.

    • David

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Anthony, this is what you are saying in simplified form:

      #6 Do whatever it takes to win, that includes cheating if need be.

      Maybe you’re right. Peds have been working out great for athletes of all kinds like baseball players. Its just sad when a true great like Babe Ruth never needed them and was hugely successful and now his records are challenged by cheaters.

      Also, how you conduct your self in your personal life will always end up affecting your business life eventually.

    • Ty

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Forget the article. Great f#!@ing comment.

  16. Richard Bilodeau

    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your success strategy, I have used the self confidence exercise and I tell the truth, it works.

  17. Scott

    Aug 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Can one truly be called a ‘success’ who has to sacrifice their ethics to win?

    What does it say about efforts of a man that works hard, but is defeated by someone using performance enhancing drugs?

    • sylverg

      Aug 30, 2013 at 6:41 am

      If you were faced with the same temptations and opportunities and if your life were put under as much scrutiny as Arnold’s life, would it hold up to the lofty billing you claim?

      Perhaps, but then again perhaps not.

      It’s kind of comparing Bob, who can’t get a girl, vs a monk who makes a chastity vow. Both are virgins but only one of them can take pride in it.

      Eden would have been a lot less challenging for Eve had there been no apple tree.

      I just watched Day 4 of the World Judo Championships and I have seen many many mistakes that I know I wouldn’t have made. Mentally, I am screaming “don’t let that hand through, you will get choked out”, “Left! Go left, can’t you see that’s his weak side?”, “Foot sweep incoming in 3, 2, 1… splash – how did you not see that coming?”. I was right most of the time too. The girl did get choked out a couple seconds later, the guy failed his throw and got countered.

      I knew better. I was right. I would probably have made none of those mistakes… but I would have made so many other mistakes that it’s unlikely I could win a match against any of the guys on the mat. Starting with the fact that I train less in a week than they do in a day.

      We love to point out the faults of the rich and famous, and tell ourselves that we would never have made those blatant mistakes. And that’s quite possible. But most of us make so many other blatant mistakes that we don’t even get in a position where our mistakes make the news.

      Not only that but a lot of our mistakes come from not even trying. There goes a beautiful girl, a successful model, a top athlete, etc., and she smiles at you and she seems to like the look of you, and you can’t work out the guts to walk over. So you smile and you look away. You don’t take the chance and tell yourself that’s all right because ____(insert a stupid excuse here). Could be the worst mistake of your life right here, but it’s never going to be in the papers. You did was the “polite” thing to do, nobody will even notice you missed the love of your life. .

      If you do have the guts to try, maybe it doesn’t work out. Maybe you misunderstood and she was smiling to someone else and she laugh that you might have thought yourself worthy of her attention. People call you a creep.

      It’s way safer to remain “politely” out of the way and criticizes the guys who do try. To be in the sideline and tell your friends about that “creep” who tried to flirt with a star.

      You criticize Arnold and the guy has done some pretty stupid things indeed, but what about you? What have you done or failed to do?

  18. Anthony

    Aug 29, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Marita, are you serious?…..

    Arnold: -The best in the world for his chosen field (bodybuilding) for many years
    – One of the most successful actors of the 90’s
    – Successful real estate and business investor
    – Elected Governor of one of largest economies in the world.

    Do I think some of the decisions he’s made in his personal life been the most moral? Not at all.

    Although it’s something l personally strive to do in my own life, this site isn’t dedicated to providing inspiration for living the most ethical lives we can. It’s a source of inspiration for people looking to SUCCEED and I think Arnold is an excellent role model for someone looking to do that.

  19. Marita

    Aug 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Liked the message, the photo-examples, not so much.

    Arnold gropes women, has illegitimate children while married, and took so many performance-enhancing drugs that he spends many hours a week in dialysis.

    Muhammad Ali–yes, live the rest of your life brain-damaged. . .

    • FTW

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      What an ignorant comment.
      What does achieving success have to do with personal vices?
      Arnold set 3 goals in his life:
      To be Mr. Olympia (which he did 7 times)
      To be an action move star (speaks for itself)
      To be a politician

      Performance enhancing drugs are the norm in that industry, if you’re not on them, you’re not going to win.
      So he wasn’t faithful to his wife, does that mean his success is written off?

      Both of these men have achieved far more than you ever will.
      Keep your negativity to yourself.

      • Matt

        Aug 29, 2013 at 6:19 pm

        At what cost to their personal life and their character? Who cares if you are “successful” but in the wake of your success destroy the only true thing that will last for eternity: our relationships with people.
        I thought these tips were so-so. The last one concerns me because it is telling people to ignore the things we cannot control. MOST OF LIFE IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL. No one can even control whether or not our heart keeps beating. This just seems to encourage people to focus on the shallow aspects of life without paying attention to the spiritual implications of our daily decisions. Which is why our 20-somethings and younger have a yolo attitude and avoid thinking about the more deeper issues of life.
        Tip #6 Don’t waste your life on things that won’t matter 1,000 years from now (1,000 years from now no one will know who Arnold or Ali is).

        • Frederick Henderson

          Aug 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

          Thank you Matt, I had a great time reading your comment, my abs still hurt.

        • Evan

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

          That’s faulty logic. The whole YOLO attitude is that you should make whatever decisions you feel like making and not worry about the consequences. But you have control over whether you sleep with a girl without a condom or whether you jump off a 3 story building into a pool. Saying that you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t control doesn’t mean you should put yourself in situations where your fate is out of your control. You have control over whether you are in those situations or not.

          Instead, the point of #5 is that instead of sitting around praying that your dream company is going to find your resume on monster, you should go out and try to schedule a meeting with the hiring manager and do whatever you can to try to further your chances. When people sit around stressing and hoping for good things to come to them, they can start to become indifferent and believe that they have no control over their lives. This can lead to depression and that’s when people start to develop poor habits like drug use.

          Yes, most things are out of your control, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything you can to try to help yourself. If you want to find the girl of your dreams, go out and talk to girls instead of sitting on your ass hoping she’ll just come and ring your doorbell one day. If you want to become a good athlete, go to the gym and workout instead of praying that a top physical trainer will show up at your house and decide to whip you into shape. If you have a goal, do everything that is in your control to try to make it come true. That’s the mentality of a champion.

        • Emily

          Aug 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

          I agree. This is someone’s opinion on what they consider “tough.” The world is full of complex people. Entrepreneurs and those who focus their energy on business success are not the gold standard. The examples listed don’t include people who worked hard to make a deep positive impact on the world, but rather did whatever it took to meat their own desires/goals.

      • savage

        Aug 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Ignore haters like this loser. Focus on positive things. Rule #5

      • Baby Spice

        Aug 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

        The main issue is that you should never compromise your health for success.Taking drugs for whatever cause is just plain foolish and -paradoxically- testifies to your desire to please others and be admired by masses at your own expense (or resolving some childhood trauma/trying to prove something to your dad etc etc etc). Humility and knowing your limits is the great absence on the list. It is humility that ultimately makes you immune to any form of (sometimes disguised) self-destruction in the long term.

    • freddy

      Aug 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      “… They are not people pleasers. They are relentless in their pursuit of their passion and aren’t worried about what other people think” 😉

    • dstar

      Aug 30, 2013 at 2:13 am

      rule number 2

  20. Ale Montemayor

    Aug 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I really liked this article.

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2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking

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3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule

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2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery

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