About Mental Toughness

What is Mental Toughness?

There are many definitions and interpretations of Mental Toughness. Legendary sports and performance psychologist Dr Jim Loehr first coined the phrase in the 1990 describing mental toughness as “the ability to consistently perform toward the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of the competitive circumstances”.

Esteemed Grid Iron Coach, Vince Lombardi, called it “Character in Action“ whilst a definition relevant not only to sport but beyond to work and life, is provided by Professor Peter Clough and Doug Strycharczyk who developed and commercialised the world leading MTQ Plus psychometric assessment and 4C’s mental toughness framework.

They describe mental toughness as “a personality trait that determines your ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure whatever the circumstances“ and an amalgam of “resilience and positivity”.

Furthermore, a mentally tough person is “someone who is comfortable in their own skin, can take whatever comes along in their stride and mostly enjoy the challenge”. In measuring one’s level of mental toughness and mental sensitivity the MTQ 4 C’s framework and assessments also provide a valuable insight into how one thinks, assisting one’s process of self-awareness and reflection.

Why is mental toughness important?

The mental toughness framework and MTQ Plus psychometric assessment enables mental toughness to be measured and this has enabled a significant volume of evidenced based independent research since its development in 2002. Findings include that whilst everyone has a unique mental profile those with or who adopt a mentally tough approach are much more likely to be more resilient, positive and adaptable, better manage their wellbeing and so perform at a higher level.

For these reasons being mentally tough for an individual or an organisation is immensely important, especially in times of great change. Leaders, aspiring leaders and those working in stressful, unforgiving occupations or in situations of uncertainty or dynamic change need to be mentally tough.

With this in mind, measuring and then developing an appropriate level of mental toughness becomes an important factor in individual and organisational wellbeing and performance which in turn helps improve overall levels of mental health. Beyond the individual, organisations in every sector, whether they be in the education, health, government, corporate or sport need to be resilient and mentally set and ready to adapt to change.

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