13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

I give this book a 8/10. While I gave myself a little pat on the back for not  doing some of these things, there are others that I am definitely guilty of. Even if I do not fall victim to them all the time, I know I have my moments (as I think most people do) when I am not feeling as confident, sure of myself, positive, etc. and can end up in these thinking patters. But being aware of them is the first step and then I can act to turn my thinking around. Without recognizing these self-defeating behaviours I will never be able to make a change.

Are you mentally strong? If not, you can now start taking action to become that way! When you catch yourself in these thought patterns make the conscious choice and effort to turn your thinking around. Or ask yourself why you are thinking that way, is there any evidence of truth to your thought pattern and if not, then counter it with positive affirmations/reword the thoughts.

I have made some notes on the key points of each of the 13. I hope you find this helpful!

 Enjoy! 🙂 

1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves

  • Self pity only prevents you from taking action
  • Attention grabber /“poor me” card; it avoids responsibility and is self-destructive
  • Problems with self-pity: waste of time, leads to more negative emotions, self-fulfilling prophecy, prevents dealing with emotions, you overlook the positive, it interferes with relationships
  • I think everyone falls victim to this once in a while –  I sure know I do! But if you acknowledge that feeling sorry for yourself is not going to help you or make the situation better, it will be easier to stop yourself and take action. I think it is okay to be sad when crappy things happen, but letting it consume your thoughts for an extended period of time will not help improve the situation and will ultimately only keep you feeling like poop!

2. They don’t give away their power

  • Without confidence in who you are, your entire self-worth depends on how others feel about you – if you offend people/people don’t like you anymore – it affects how you feel about yourself
  • Need to have a strong sense of self-worth and you will be able to tolerate these things in life if they do happen without giving others power over you/letting them control your thoughts
  • Giving away your power only leads to: depending on others for your feelings, avoiding the real problem, becoming sensitive to criticism, losing sight of your goals, ruining relationships
  • Retain your power – evaluate feedback to determine if it has validity – criticism can sometimes open eyes to how others perceive us so we can make positive change but it can also just be a reflection of the critic and their feelings/self (you cannot control the thoughts or behaviours of others!)
  • Helpful: set emotionally healthy boundaries, make conscious choices about how to respond to people, take responsibility for how you choose to spend your time/energy
  • I have always thought of myself of a confident person but I am learning that I really am not…The fear of someone not liking me really affects how I feel about myself and this is not okay!  I know this is something that will not have a quick fix for me but I am working on it.

3. They don’t shy away from change

  • Why people don’t change: the thought of stepping outside your comfort zone is scary
  • Change will bring up uncomfortable emotions but that does not mean don’t do it
  • 5 stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance
  • Remaining stagnant – life does not get better (many problems require you to do something different)
    • You won’t challenge yourself to develop healthier habits
    • Others outgrow you
    • The longer you wait the harder it gets
  • This is 100% definitely completely an issue for me. There are certain areas of my life that I have grand goals for…and have had these goals for over a year now…but the whole getting comfortable being uncomfortable is much easier said than done. Little baby steps are better than no steps. I really have to take one day at a time. What behaviours am I doing right now that are either helping or hindering reaching my goals? If I am uncomfortable/getting anxious maybe this is a good thing because it means I am on the road to change. I do Not want to be here in a year!

4. They don’t focus on things they can’t control

  • Problems with trying to control everything:
    • Leads to increased anxiety
    • Wastes time and energy
    • Damages relationships
    • Judge others harshly
    • Blame yourself for everything
  • Internal v. external locus of control > best is a bi-locus of control (in the middle)
  • Focus on the things you can control and recognize those that you can’t
    • It may be that you can only control own behaviour and attitude
  • Can’t control others but can influence them:
    • Listen first
    • Change your behaviour
    • Point out the positive (if someone is trying to make positive change)
  • Practice acceptance – of people, the situation, etc. for things you have no control over
  • When you stop trying to control everything:
    • Increased happiness
    • Better relationships (increased community/belonging)
    • Less stress
    • New opportunities (willing to change)
    • More success
  • I actually think I am fairly good at this at this time of my life. I have not always been able to just let things happen that are out of my control and move on, I have gotten better as I have matured and realized that you can only control you. You have no control over the actions/behaviours/thoughts of others so why stress over it? It will only keep you miserable. 
  • Phew! Finally one I think I am okay with!

5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone

  • Clarify your own values i.e. kids, relationships, money, religious beliefs, career, etc.
  • Pick your top 5 and rank in order from most to least important and think about whether you are actually living accordingly
  • Hmm…welp this is definitely another one for me. I am a people pleaser. I always have been. I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing but when it compromises my own happiness/progress there is a problem. 

6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks

  • People are bad at accurately calculating risk
    • Incorrectly judge how much control we have over a situation
    • Overcompensate when safeguards are in place
    • Don’t recognize between skill and chance
    • Influenced by superstitions
    • Comfortable with familiarity
  • I am not sure I have been in enough situations that were actually “risky” to speak to this one yet.

7. They don’t dwell on the past

  • Self-reflection is healthy but dwelling can be destructive and prevent you from enjoying the present and planning for the future
  • Keep perspective: focus on lessons learned, think about facts not emotion, look at the situation differently
  • This is another one that while I have gotten a lot better at, there are definitely times when I still find myself dwelling on past events, what did or did not happen. But ultimately living in the past is not living. Just as focusing on the “what ifs” of the future is not living. Being in the present and focusing on the now should be the goal otherwise life will simply pass you by.

8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over

  • If you are uncomfortable with success you will sabotage your own efforts  and resort to old self-destructive behaviours
  • Repeating mistakes leads to:
    • Not reaching your goals
    • Problem doesn’t get solved
    • You think differently about yourself (failure, etc.)
    • Don’t try as hard
  • Ask yourself: What went wrong? What could I have done better? What can I do differently next time?
  • Create a plan
  • Find a way to hold yourself accountable
  • Practice self-discipline: practice tolerating discomfort, use positive self-talk, keep your goals in mind, impose restrictions on yourself, create a list of all the reasons you do not want to repeat your mistake
  • This goes along with my being scared of change…I have technically made the same mistakes for the past year in the sense that I have not made the change required to reach my goals. 2017 is the year to get comfortable being uncomfortable! I will NOT make these mistakes over and over for another 12 months!

9. They don’t resent other people’s success

  • Beneath resentment is envy and insecurities – when feel bad about self, someone else’s success will magnify your shortcomings
  • Problems it can cause:
    • You stop focusing on own path to success
    • Never content with what you have
    • Overlook own skills/talents
    • Abandon own values
    • Damage relationships
  • Need to change your circumstances and/or attitude
  • Change your attitude/thoughts:
    • Avoid comparing yourself to others
    • Develop awareness of stereotypes
    • Don’t emphasize your weaknesses
    • Don’t magnify other people’s success/strengths
    • Don’t insult other’s accomplishments
    • Stop trying to determine what is “fair”
  • When happy about other’s accomplishments you will attract successful people and this can increase your motivation, inspiration and information
  • Create your own definition of success – look at the big picture of your life
    • What are you biggest accomplishments?
    • What are the best ways you spent your time/money/talents?
  • I 100% am thrilled when those around me/close to me are successful but I would be lying if I said I did not sometimes feel a pang of jealousy at times. However I do not stop focusing on my own path. If anything I think it spurs me to work harder for my goals.

10. They don’t give up after the first failure

  • Failure can build character by challenging you in new ways
  • Help identify areas in life that need work
  • Help identify hidden talents/strengths
  • View failure as a way to improve yourself
  • Wahoo! Finally! #2 that I think I am pretty good at!

11. They don’t fear alone time

  • Use alone time to:
    • Reflect on goals
    • Pay attention to your feelings
    • Set goals for the future
    • Write in a journal
  • Schedule a date with yourself, learn to meditate, practice mindfulness
  • Oh look at me go! This one is definitely my strong point. I love my alone time. I live alone and would never want a roommate again. I do hope to live with a significant other one day but until that time I will live alone. I need my quiet time, me time, not talk to anyone else time. Mind you I have yet to be able to get into meditation…

12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything

  • Truths to keep in mind:
    • Life isn’t meant to be fair
    • Your problems are not unique
    • You have choices in how you respond to disappointments – even if can’t change the situation, you can choose how to respond
    • You are not more deserving than anyone else
  • “When people are dying, no one ever wishes that they had spend another day at the office.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time helping others.” p. 225
  • That quote is something to think about …

13. They don’t expect immediate results

  • Be willing to develop realistic expectations and understand that success doesn’t happen overnight
  • Why people expect immediate results:
    • Lack patience
    • Overestimate abilities
    • Underestimate how long change takes
  • Create realistic expectations – don’t underestimate how hard change is
    • Avoid placing a definite time limit on reaching your goal
    • Don’t overestimate how much better the results will make your life/make you feel
  • Consider how you will measure progress:
    • How will I know if what I’m doing is working?
    • What is a realistic time frame to see initial results?
    • What kind of results can I realistically expect to see within one week, one month, 6 months, etc.
    • How will I know if I am staying on track?
  • Strategies:
    • Keep your eye on the prize – keep your goal in mind for days you feel like giving up
    • Celebrate milestones
    • Create a plan to resist temptation/fall off track
    • Deal with feelings of frustration and impatience in a healthy way
    • Pace yourself
  • I know this, but it is hard to be patient sometimes! Especially when changes are so small!


So overall I find myself not being very mentally strong! But there are things that I (and anyone) can do daily to try to improve it. I need to:

  • Monitor my behaviour – Be very aware of times when I am sabotaging myself and finding myself getting back into my old/comfortable routines and then have the courage to stop myself and get back on track to my goals
  • Regulate my emotions – There is no point feeling sorry for myself. The past is the past. Focus on the present and my future goals. I cannot control others so do not let my emotions be affected by the behaviours of others.
  • Think about my thoughts – evaluate my thoughts and be aware of overly positive or exaggeratedly negative thoughts; are my thoughts realistic? Is there truth behind them? Can they be validated? If not, then I need to actively turn those thoughts around and reframe them to something positive that will help me progress and not keep me stuck where I am.

Goodness gracious I have a lot of work to do!



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