We’ve all experienced that tight grip of fear, that insistent thought that tells us we don’t have what it takes to go far in life.
Fear is so powerful that it can hold us back and keep us stuck in a perpetual state of “what if?”
But what if I told you there’s a way to transform fear into a powerful ally and conquer it once and for all? It’s what mental warriors do, those people who feel just as scared as the rest of us but are able to power through despite it.
These brave folks have a set of powerful traits to help them do that. In this article, I’ll show you ten of these traits. Hopefully, you can learn from them and start saying “no” to your fears. confidence.
Let’s dive in!
I’ll begin with the cornerstone of mental toughness – courage. It’s a misconception that mental warriors are never afraid. But you know what? They absolutely are!
The truth is, as the great man Nelson Mandela said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
I couldn’t say it any better than that. I mean, Mandela has certainly gone through so many challenges that would make anyone run and go into hiding – imprisonment, racial discrimination, political repression, personal attacks, and so much more!
So he knows what he’s talking about! And we would do well to learn from his wisdom. No one is immune to fear, but it’s up to us to hide or face them.
See, what Mandela had to help him be brave in the face of all that adversity was an extraordinary vision. He wanted freedom, justice, and equality.
Now, our dreams might not be as lofty as all that, but that doesn’t make them any less valid. Whatever your vision is, let that be your guiding light to help you face your fears.
Mental warriors have a clear vision of their goals and the future they want to create. This clarity keeps them motivated, even when so many roadblocks pop up along the way.
Speaking of motivation brings me to my next point, which is about having a positive outlook.
Mental warriors know that life is hard. Some of them may even have started out with low self-esteem, just like many of us.
The difference is they didn’t stay there. They didn’t wallow in self-pity and negative thinking.
No, they did the hard work necessary to get to that point where they could see hope no matter how dire things may look.
What does that hard work look like? Like this…
- Practicing self-awareness
- Reframing negative thoughts
- Practicing kindness and self-compassion
- Surrounding yourself with positive people
These are just a few ways to develop optimism, and let me tell you, if you’re consistent with these practices, you can learn how to shoo away negative vibes and stay focused!
4) Laser-sharp focus
The ability to stay focused is another trait that all mental warriors have in common. And it has become even more precious in this day and age of distractions.
I’ll give you an example of allowing distractions can stop you from conquering your fears.
Let’s say you have a fear of public speaking, and you’ve been tasked to deliver a presentation at a work conference.
You set out determined to prepare but along the way, you find yourself scrolling through social media, watching videos, or chatting with friends. Before you know it, the conference day arrives and you’re nowhere near prepared as you wanted to be!
So, that magnifies your fear of public speaking tenfold, maybe even a thousandfold! Preparing and rehearsing your speech well could have toned that down and made it easier to overcome, but because you weren’t focused, you weren’t able to conquer that fear.
It’s a missed opportunity.
Which brings me to the next point…
5) Proactive problem-solving
Circling back to the example above, you can see how being proactive can help you stay focused, right?
Here’s what I’ve found in my years on this earth – prevention is better than cure.
That doesn’t just apply to health-related issues, but also to fear-related ones! I’ve realized that thinking ahead gives me a sense of control that then makes it easier for me to tackle my fears.
I imagine all sorts of problems that could possibly come up and think of ways to prevent them from happening. And I also think of ways to solve them in case they are inevitable.
Does that sound like a lot of thinking? I won’t lie, it does.
But for me, it’s always worth taking the time just to have that precious sense of control. When I feel like I’ve got solutions for anything that might happen, I feel so much braver!
This is another trait you’ll find in mental warriors. They are paragons of patience.
They understand that overcoming their fears isn’t an instant process; it’s a long journey that they will have to contend with over and over again.
For example, if one of your fears is the fear of failure, you won’t be okay with failing after just one failure. No, you’ll be failing many, many times before you get really comfortable with it.
That knowledge is what helps mental warriors stay the course. They know that it takes a lot of perseverance for results to happen, and they’re willing to wait and keep on chipping away at their fears.
I guess this is a trait that goes hand in hand with patience, and mental warriors have heaps of it. After all, to be patient with yourself as you deal with your fears, you first have to admit that you’ve got some changes to make.
Not only that, but mental warriors also know that they can’t overcome their fears on their own. Sometimes they need help from other people.
And if they aren’t humble enough to accept that, they won’t know how to ask for and receive help.
So make no mistake – mental warriors might look tough and all, but deep inside, they are humble people!
This may sound counterintuitive (pun intended) because when you’re fearful, the last thing you might think of following is your instincts, right?
But…has there ever been a situation where you were so afraid to do something but you knew that it was the right thing to do?
I once felt exactly like that when I was offered a new job. It was such a good offer, but it required me to move to a different location – and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. I’d only ever lived in the same small town forever, so the idea of starting over in a strange city filled me with so much dread.
At the same time, my gut was telling me, “Do it! You know it’s good for you!”
In the end, I did listen. And I was rewarded richly for it – I grew so much, both personally and professionally!
That’s why now, I’m all about pausing and listening to my intuition, no matter how scared I feel.
9) Emotional intelligence
All of the points above round up to an overarching trait of mental warriors – emotional intelligence.
To be mentally tough, they have to be able to understand how they feel. Otherwise, they won’t be able to address it.
On top of that, they are also finely attuned to the emotions of other people. This skill helps them navigate difficult situations and communicate more effectively.
Best of all, being emotionally intelligent paves the way for rational decision-making, which is crucial if you want to conquer your fears. All too often, fears are irrational and we need to be level-headed enough to be able to override that irrationality.
Finally, we come to gratitude – the most fabulous secret weapon of mental warriors.
How does an attitude of gratitude help you overcome your fears?
It’s pretty simple – by shifting your focus from the negative to the positive. When you cann appreciate what you have, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed by your fears.
For me, being grateful gives me such a positive feeling that spills over to my feelings around my fears. Like, yes, I’m afraid, but I also know I’m capable of addressing this fear.
It centers me and keeps me balanced instead of feeling out of control.
Deepak Chopra encapsulated this concept in his article, “3 Essential Practices for Gratitude.” He says…
“You embrace the wisdom of uncertainty, and you sense yourself as a field of infinite possibilities. Gratitude is a fullness of heart that moves you from limitation and fear to expansion and love.”
If that doesn’t sum it up perfectly, I don’t know what will!
So, think you have what it takes to be a mental warrior? Of course you do!
You are not meant to live in fear – you are meant to go out there and be the best version of you.
And remember, you don’t have to do it alone; you can ask for help from people who want to see you thrive in life!