This review first ran in the March 2 edition of The Hamilton Spectator.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
By Amy Morin
Every night I dump my spare change into a copper tobacco tin.
The tin used to sit on a shelf above the wood stove in grandparents’ family room. Every dime my grandfather put into that tin was hard-earned.
After serving in the Second World War, my grandfather spent more than 30 years installing and fixing gas stations. It was backbreaking blue collar work that left him frostbitten in winter and sunburnt in summer.
A heart attack forced my grandfather into early retirement and we spent a lot of time together during my awkward and impressionable teenage years. We’d go to the Legion for lunch and spend afternoons driving up and down country back roads.
We didn’t do a lot of talking. My grandfather wasn’t one for sermons and lectures. But he taught me some invaluable life lessons and did an expert job of disabusing me of any sense of entitlement or self-importance.
The world owes us nothing, my grandfather would remind me. Everything must be earned. Always put in an honest day’s work. If you believe you deserve more or better, the onus is on you to go and get it.
My grandfather would’ve scored high marks for mental strength from author, college prof and clinical social worker Amy Morin.
“Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances,” says Morin. “When you become mentally strong, you will be your best self, have the courage to do what’s right and develop a true comfort with who you are and what you are capable of achieving.”
That’s a winning combination that will make you indispensable at work.
Morin’s identified 13 things that mentally strong people don’t do. Like my grandfather, they don’t feel the world owes them anything.
“We’re all inclined to want our fair share in life,” says Morin. “However, the belief that you’re owed something simply because of who you are or what you’ve been through isn’t healthy. An entitlement mentality prevents you from earning things based on merit. You’ll be less likely to work hard when you’re busy complaining that you’re not getting what you’re owed.”
Here are the 12 other things you don’t do when you’re mentally strong, according to Morin.
You don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself and indulging in self-pity.
You don’t give away your power. “Giving other people the power to control how you think, feel and behave makes it impossible to be mentally strong.”
You don’t shy away from change.
You don’t focus on things and people you can’t control.
You don’t worry about pleasing everyone. “Attempts to be a nice person can backfire when your behavior crosses over into people pleasing.”
You don’t fear taking calculated risks. “Taking calculated risks often mean the difference between living a mediocre life and living an extraordinary life.”
You don’t dwell on the past and let it distract you from the present.
You don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.
You don’t resent other people’s success. “I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it is” quickly wears thin and diminishes your shot at success.
You don’t give up after the first failure.
You don’t fear alone time. Turn off your smartphone and TV. “Mental strength requires you to take time out from the busyness of daily life to focus on growth.”
And you don’t expect immediate results. Patience really is a virtue.
Morin shows how to build mental strength so you’re better prepared for whatever curveballs get thrown your way at work and on the home front. “Whether your goal is to be a better parent, to increase your productivity at the office, or to perform better on the athletic field, increasing your mental strength will help you reach your full potential.”
My grandfather would’ve approved and called Morin’s strategies common sense.