Mental Toughness – By Definition

I have been guilty of using the internet to find definitions and meanings of words and concepts. I’ve even heard university lecturers tell students that it’s okay to just ‘Google it’ to find an answer. How valid are these definitions?

Let’s take for example the phrase ‘mental toughness’. My definition would be something along the lines of ‘the measurement of how your brain performs at moments where you are faced with extreme pressure’.

Let’s see how I compare with definitions I find online:

Mental toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.

Source: Google

For-ti-tude:
1 :strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage
2 obsolete :strength

Source: Merriam-Webster

Mental toughness is the ability to remain calm under stress so you can perform at your best, rather than panic. It is sometimes described as “energy management.” The concept of building mental toughness was introduced through sports psychology in the 1980s by Dr. Jim Loehr’s work with world-class tennis players. It has since been applied to the general population as a way to manage daily stressors. Mental toughness training includes techniques to balance energy expenditure (work) with energy recovery (rest).

Source: eHow

I found it quite interesting that dictionaries such as Cambridge, Oxford and Collins, could not define ‘mental toughness’. So how are Google and eHow coming up with such definitions?

It is clear that this is an area which still requires further research. There is no single definition and that leads to various interpretations of mental toughness.

I personally wouldn’t take one definition or one individuals assessment on ‘mental toughness’ too seriously. This is one of those areas that is too often assessed subjectively and there is always some danger in relying on such assessments wholeheartedly.

I believe that mental toughness is something that we practice subconsciously on a daily basis. There are many moments in the day that we are teaching ourselves to be mentally tough. As children, going to school and completing homework, develops mental toughness. As adults, going to work every morning and being punctual, develops mental toughness. Then, there is household chores, helping a friend out who may need support or assistance, taking tests or exams, making friends, losing friends and taking notice of the world around us, are all examples of developing our mental toughness. Always remember that life itself exercises our mental strength, so live and let live.

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