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Legendary comic book and cinematic heroes are symbols of great physical strength and toughness.

Woman-in-the-city-stopping-to-think

However, in the real world, it’s mental strength that really counts. It’s a strong mind that allows you to overcome life’s challenges and persist to realize your dreams and goals.

Life’s challenges will fortify your mind, but they can also do a lot of damage. So, great mental strength isn’t a given despite what many people will try and tell you.

Therefore, it takes work to toughen the mind so that you can surmount the hurdles standing in the way of you and live your best life.

Fortunately, there are some really simple ways to improve your mental strength– strategies anyone can use. They’re not all easy, but they are straightforward, and the more you work to strengthen the mind the easier it becomes to strengthen it further.

I was ironing my own clothes when I was 11 years old. My mental strength goes back to those days.

– Cristiano Ronaldo

Here are five simple ways to improve your mental strength.

1. Focus on developing intrinsic motivators (and stop depending on extrinsic ones)

First, you need to work on developing intrinsic motivators as opposed to extrinsic ones.

Most of us live our lives seeking out extrinsic validation. These extrinsic factors are great motivators, however, they can only motivate so long as they exist.

This is a problem because extrinsic motivators can disappear forever and never come back from cash to awards, jobs, fame, connections, and notoriety.

However, intrinsic motivators such as confidence, self-belief, skills, and experiences can never, ever be taken from you so they’re far more dependable if you hope to develop authentic mental strength instead of a fragile, inevitably temporary kind.

2. Focus on your sphere of influence

Your sphere of influence includes all those things in your life which you have the ability to impact. This is important to know because people often spent inordinate amounts of time stressing over things they have no control over, thereby wasting their time and mental energy.

Focusing on this area which includes only those things you have the power to affect helps because it reduces overwhelm and mental dispersion, allowing your mind to function more effectively.

This is important because your mental strength is dictated by your mental state. It’s not just about your past experiences or some sort of basic set point but more about countless smaller factors which you have the ability to influence at any moment.

3. Adopt a constructive perspective on failure

One of the greatest opportunities for personal growth throughout life is in learning from failure. The only thing is most people look at failure as proof that we ourselves are failures. But that’s just not the case.

The strongest and most successful people in the world fail on their way to greatness and continue to fail once they’ve arrived there.

[Read about some of the most successful CEO‘s surprisingly uplifting accounts of failure]

Failure isn’t a sign that you’re not good enough, it’s a natural step in the process towards realizing your best self and attaining that seemingly unbreakable level of mental toughness that so many of the world’s most successful people exhibit.

But you can only do that by looking at failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. In each failure, look at what you could have done differently or better, make adjustments, and move on stronger and more resilient than before.

4. Reimagine your core beliefs

Oftentimes, it’s your core beliefs which are holding you back.

A recent setback has made you bitter and pessimistic about life, your low self-worth badgers you over the head into submission before you even have the chance to resist, or world events have made your outlook dark and foreboding.

Your core beliefs– about yourself, others, and life in general– play a big role in deciding how life’s experiences affect you.

By reimagining those core beliefs — identifying your negative self-talk and seeing that you’re not worthless, meeting good people and discovering that not everyone is toxic, or balancing out the negative with positive stories of heroism and character throughout the world to see that things aren’t as bad as they seem — you’re able to completely change how you respond to life’s challenges.

5. Reflect on, and document, your personal growth

Life’s experiences string us along in a way that is much unlike the stories we know and love.

This makes it very easy to forget what happened yesterday, last year, and ten years ago.

However, you’re not the same person you were five, ten, or twenty years ago. You’re stronger, smarter, and wiser than you’ve ever been.

Use this to your advantage and go back into your past to see just how far you’ve come. Look back on moments in your life and the choices you made to see how much you’ve grown and the kind of progress you’ve made.

Then, start documenting today how you grow from here. As life’s experiences hit you and you learn to adapt and grow, write about it. Journaling has endless benefits aside from this, so it’s well worth the time and effort.

By doing so, you’ll not only be consistently reminded of how strong you are but you’ll also be celebrating your successes along the way, both of which can empower you greatly.