Are You Mentally Strong?

brain-300x299I love lists. I love this list of Mentally Strong People: 13 Things They Avoid. It reminds me of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People–one of my favorite books. Mandela, Jeff Bezos and Rick Warren are likely mentally strong people (MSP). See if you belong to the category of MSP by avoiding things on this list.

1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Yourself. MSP do not feel sorry for their situation or dwell on how they were mistreated. They take responsibility for their actions and their outcomes. They understand that life is often unfair. They emerge from bad circumstances with self-awareness (Gen 50:20) and gratitude for lessons learned. They may say, “Oh, well…” or “Next.”

2.  Give Away Your Power. MSP do not give others the power to make them feel inferior. They are in control of their actions and emotions (1 Pet 5:8). They manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. MSP embrace change. They welcome challenge. An environment of change and uncertainty energizes MSP and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. MSP don’t complain (much) about other people, because they are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. MSP are not people pleasers. They strive to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but are unafraid to speak up. They know that certain people will get upset and they navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace (Col 4:6).

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. MSP willingly take calculated risks. This is not jumping headlong into foolish risks. MSP weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly. They fully assess potential downsides and worst-case scenarios before taking decisive action.

7. Dwell on the Past. Acknowledging the past and especially things learned from past experiences is good. But MSP avoid consuming their mental energy in past disappointments or in “glory days” gone by. They invest their creative energy for optimizing the present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over and Expecting Better Results (the definition of insanity). MSP accept full responsibility for past behavior and willingly learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful people.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success (Rom 12:15). MSP have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they take notes on what the individual did well).

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. The greatest entrepreneurs willingly admit their many early failures. MSP are willing to fail again and again, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. MSP enjoy and treasure time spent alone to reflect, plan, and to be productive (Mk 1:35). They don’t depend on others for their happiness. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. MSP are prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. MSP are “in it for the long haul.” They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses. They celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power” (Rom 8:28). They understand that genuine changes take time.

I would like to think that I categorically avoid all 13 things on this list (…hear the violin playing). But I know my wife will tell you otherwise! Do you have mental strength? Do you belong to the category of MSP?


  1. Mark Mederich

    are WE mentally strong? what if a group of people shared such approach? could organization of any kind become mentally strong? (& thus productive/life-giving to all parties involved)

  2. Very good list, Ben.

    One point is a bit difficult and needs to be understood properly: “don’t waste energy on things you can’t control”. This has too often been misunderstood by UBF members to not take action because the leaders won’t listen to them anyway. But this is really not the way MSPs would see it.

  3. Great post Ben. Young adults need to think about these things. I am so happy to see that many young adults are indeed mentally strong! That is why they are not falling into the ubf heritage trap.

    I however was mentally weak and vulnerable due to my life circumstances when I was 18 years old. Now I am my own man and my mind is clear and strong.

    For the first time ever, the world can now see the full ubf ideology documented on my blog:

    The University Bible Fellowship 12 point Heritage

    I have also revamped my personal blog to be a self-serve search engine. All of my articles are available to be searched and retrieved by any topic you want.

    • Mark Mederich

      ‘that’ll be the day’ like an old song says: the day when the old are mature in Christ, the middle are imbued with grace & blessing/encouraging the young, the young are freely seeking/truly being led by the Lord (Hallelujah!)
      it has started & will advance without hindrance, for the Lord has deemed it’s time; ALL religious legalism/elitism is quickly being exposed/rendered powerless;
      those who cling to the old way of religiosity will find it like quicksand disappearing beneath them, despite their tremulous fantasies of greatness/achievement; those seeking Holy Spirit help to espouse the Lord’s True Ways will see the Lord Alone glorified & experience wisdom of heaven/blessings to share beneath HALLELUJAH!!!

  4. Well said MarkM!

    Apparently some ubfer from a Toronto IP address is not mentally strong… I wonder why someone from Toronto would be so concerned about the UBF Wikipedia article this week? (sorry for the inside joke…)

    Seems that ubfers can’t stand this one sentence in the UBF Wikipedia article: “some outside observers and former members describe the group as cult-like and/or “abusive.”

    ubfers keep vandalizing the Wikipedia entry for UBF and blanking out that sentence. No matter though, the Wikipedians won’t allow such vandalism for long.

    • Why do I care about this Wikipedia article? Well because there was a time when I worked with Sarah Barry to remove all negative comments about ubf (back when I was “in”).