The Nine Habits of The Mentally Tough

Aidan Kenealy
3 min readAug 6, 2019


It’s important to build habitual mental resilience so we can deal with the inevitable changes and complications we face in life. These habits unfortunately are often not taught, nor are they universally understood en masse.

Habitual mental resilience isn’t rocket science, but it is more nuanced than simply adopting a stiff upper lip, a tough layer of skin, or a grin that can bare it. It takes awareness and practice to adopt and perfect the habits required to become more mentally resilient.

These habits are briefly summarised below.

Habit 1: Focus on what you can control

We only have a limited mental capacity to deal with all our physical and emotional needs. There is no point wasting large quantities of this resource on things we can’t control.

Habit 2: Bring success and failure into your own hands

By focusing only on what you can control you can determine the causes of your success and failure. If you succeed, you caused it. If you fail, you caused it. Doing this allows you to feel more in control of your environment as you can attribute your actions to observable outcomes.

Habit 3: Understand you are more powerful when friends and family are behind you.

No person described as ‘mentally tough’ would ever suggest they do it all alone. Having trusted friends and family to help support them is a vital part of their mental well being. Including people in your hard decisions, or reaching out when you are experiencing tough times an immeasurable impact on you ability to handle mental stress. “A problem shared, is a problem halved”.

Habit 4: They see the past as valuable experience

The past doesn’t guarantee future success, but it does provide experience from which we learn and develop from. This includes how to mentally handle stresses and prepare for future challenges. If you have been through a tough situation before, your experience prepares you for similar future events. In the same way your immune system works, your mental responses become less severe the more times you have experienced…



Aidan Kenealy

Professional startup advisor for founders of high growth startups. More details @