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In High Stress Workplaces, Does Mental Toughness Matter?

By Andrew D. Wittman, Ph.D.
Published June 13, 2016

High stress jobs are the ones that are tied to performance, as in, if you don’t perform there are high-stakes, all-or-nothing consequences. They include entrepreneurs, commission-based sales, stock traders, executives, professional athletes, entertainers, doctors, nurses, cops, firefighters and spec-ops warriors, to name a few. In these high-stress arenas, mental toughness is what separates the lifetime achievers from the early burnouts.

Well-known examples of the mentally tough include Steve Jobs and Jack Welch in business, Harry Truman and Ronald Regan in politics, Colin Powell and Douglas MacArthur in the military, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick in coaching and Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey in the field of sports.

Being mentally tough means that you’re able to take control of your thoughts, feelings and attitudes under pressure. It’s about being disciplined in how you think your thoughts, in how you deploy your emotions to drive past your worries, doubts, and fears. It’s clarity, focus and confidence and it comes from taking complete control of yourself. How? It’s actually simpler than it sounds.

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