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5 Mental Toughness Lessons from World-Class Performers

5 Mental Toughness Lessons from World-Class Performers

What could you do with a little more mental toughness? A little more thinking and conditioning like that of a world-class performer?

Combined with a passionate belief in a cause, virtually anything, I believe. In 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, Steve Siebold distills 177 insightful lessons on mental toughness he’s learned from studying many of the world’s top performers.

Years ago, I read the book from front to back. It took a while, I’ll admit because it’s really just a series of two-page summaries of each lesson along with additional notes and action steps for implementing them.

However, once I did I was glad I had finished it because it imparted to me so many useful lessons on mental toughness and world-class thinking and performance that were useful to me, things I still use today.


While their competition is asleep, world-class leaders are up – and they're not watching the news or reading the paper. They are thinking, planning, and practicing.

– Robin S. Sharma

As with any book, with time I’ve forgotten most of the lessons within each of those thick pages (really, the book is pretty hefty). However, there are a few lessons that still stick out to me today because they’ve been so useful to me in the years since then.

Here are five mental toughness lessons from world-class performers:

1. It’s about persistence

Most people just aren’t willing to give everything they’ve got to achieving a goal. World-class performers have decided long ago that no matter how long it takes– they’re going to make it happen.

This mindset of persistence in the face of adversity is a hallmark of world-class performers and altogether critical to achieve any great dream or goal. When you get knocked down, and you will, you have to be willing to get back up and take more hits.

The reality is, you can’t avoid challenges. You need to either be willing to face them on the way to working towards those goals or accept the fact that you’ll never accomplish them at all. There is no middle ground.

However, if you’re willing to face these challenges head-on, while there’s never any guarantee you’ll accomplish your goals, a great level of personal growth is all but guaranteed in its place (and you have the best chance at realizing your dreams as anyone would).

2. World-class performers understand that our experience is based on our perception

How we interpret our experiences is based on various beliefs and that in turn influences how we think and act. World-class performers understand this and know that the world is, in a very literal way, as we see it.

World-class performers understand this and have spent inordinate amounts of time refining their mindset and beliefs to match the goals and dreams they’re trying to accomplish.

3. World-class performers compartmentalize their response to emotions

Siebold says:

“Average people get bogged down in the details of every little problem and become overwhelmed quickly. Professional performers compartmentalize each problem and create a mental/emotional separation between the person and the problem.”

This allows high-level performers to react in a much more productive way as well as to mitigate damage and mental fatigue from the ebbs and tides of their emotions over time.

4. World-class performers know how to tap into their creative energy

Creativity isn’t just a skill useful in creating art, it has a much broader use that touches virtually every aspect of life.

Creativity affects some aspect of almost everything we do. This is particularly important when it comes to problem-solving, a skill useful in all aspects of business and life.

World-class performers know the power of their ideas and have created a way that is effective for them to gain clarity. This allows them to enter an optimal state for creativity where their best ideas can flow out.

To begin taking advantage of this, spend the time to find a more creativity-oriented activity you can do when you need to clear your mind and find clarity (meditation can work here too).


5. World-class performers see adversity as an opportunity– not an obstacle

The ‘problem’ we really have is we think we’re not supposed to have problems! Problems call us to higher levels – face & solve them now!

– Tony Robbins

This is pretty straightforward but its value is significant: the challenges we face in life are an opportunity, a calling to step forward to a new level. By facing our challenges we often learn vital lessons and gain the mental toughness necessary to push through to achieve our goals. That is, if you choose to face that challenge and move forward with courage.

This is easily one of the most significant lessons I’ve taken from the book. When I first read 177 Mental Toughness Secrets, I was taking the bus to and from the office I worked at. And not by choice. My car had broken down and I didn’t have enough money to fix it, so I was out of luck.

I won’t bore you with the rest, but suffice it to say, that was just the tip of the iceberg with regards to the challenges I was facing at that time in my life. However, this lesson in particular, along with other lessons I absorbed at the time, really helped plant that initial seed that would shift my thinking to begin looking at challenges as an opportunity to grow and develop into something more– something better.

Mental toughness is a hallmark of world-class performers, but it’s actually a collection of various different skills and abilities that you can develop yourself. World-class performers have worked hard to change the way they see the world – and how they react to it – so that they can create continual growth that helps them accomplish their dreams and goals. Use these mental toughness lessons from the world-class to transform your own thinking and start making real progress today.

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