13 things mentally strong people don’t do by Amy Morin

While we’re hinting Mental Strength, let’s not forget the importance the subject is getting of late. Being mentally strong is a real asset, especially for leaders. Amy Morin’s book must deserve a read now than ever before, in the post pandemic times when VUCA world has got an altogether different meaning. Amy is the editor-in-chief at Verywell Mind, a clinical social worker, a psychology lecturer and author of bestsellers. In this book, she unveils the 13 secrets of mentally strong people by showing you what they don’t do which , I think, is as important as knowing what they actually do. 


Author : Amy Morin
Originally Published : 2017
Publication :William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages : 288
Genre(s) :- Non-Fiction, Business, Motivation, Self-Help

As we grow up, it’s crucial to adapt to life through a process of learning, unlearning and relearning. This book forms part of that unlearning curve when we need to eliminate aspects of our personality that would rather cause more harm than good .

Amy has lost her mother and as they gather in memory of her on her third anniversary, her 26 year old husband also dies due to heart attack. That leaves her broken twice as much. A few years into a second marriage and her father in law is dying of cancer. Too much to merit mental strength, isn’t it. That’s when you hit at the sentence- you are only as good as your worst habits. Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances., she says. 

Three things that decide our mental strength include 

  • Genetics 
  • Personality
  • Experience

And the three things that shape your mental strength are

  • Thoughts
  • Behaviors
  • Emotions

One needs to choose behavior based on balanced emotions and rational thinking. Understand, being mentally strong does not mean acting tough, ignoring your emotions, being completely self-reliant without help, always thinking positive or chasing happiness all the time. 

This is where we come to understand what is it that separates mentally strong people from the others: 

  1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves: It’s considered normal for people to pity themselves for all their misery in life. On the contrary, too much self-indulgence in pity actually robs you of the desire to move on in life and wallow in there without having to face reality face to face.
  2. They don’t give away their power: When we’re angry or blame someone or something for our problems, we are, in effect giving the other person the power over our lives- our appetite, our peace and our happiness included. Now it is they who decide your state of mind  and your worth because you have given it to them. Wield and reclaim  your power. Don’t cave in with reactions. 
  3. They don’t shy away from change: Habits, behaviors, attitude all need to be changed from time to time. You can’t be what you were as a kid when you’re all grown up. The faster and better you adapt change, you turn into a fine human being. When you refuse to change, you actually stop growing and become stagnant.
  4. They don’t focus on things they can’t control: You can control only some things in life and not everything. Trying to keep everything under your control ends up in making you a fanatic and a control freak. It also makes life miserable for you and others. Keep the locus of control internal. Learn to influence people without controlling them. 
  5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone: If it’s not about how you feel about others, then it’s surely about worrying how they feel about you. Trying to please everyone leaves you exhausted and never quite satisfied with what you’ve done because it’s impossible. Stop taking responsibility about how people feel about you and never attach your worth with their opinion about you.
  6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks: Being risk averse is good in a volatile situation but not always. Nothing much would have ever been achieved had no one taken calculated risks. The dangers of starting a new business, going on a solo trip or taking a chance will always be there. But that doesn’t stop them from trying it out.
  7. They don’t dwell on the past: Being stuck in history means you keep regretting that which could have been different. When it is already gone, and all we have is the future, why not focus on the possibilities instead? It also leads to you missing out on the present.
  8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over: The wise learn from others’ mistakes more than their own. Mistakes may never be completely avoided, but learning the lessons and moving ahead is the key. Old habits die hard and that’s what creates the same mistakes again.
  9. They don’t resent other people’s success: Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping that it kills your enemies, said Nelson Mandela. Sometimes we feel life has been unfair, at other times we feel insecure that we will be left behind. Whatever the case, no one has denied you the chance to succeed. 
  10. They don’t give up after the first failure: Nothing much could have been achieved in this world had people given up after the first failure. Take it as a lesson and move ahead with renewed vigor. Treat it as the first step towards the journey to success. Each time you quit, it reinforces your assumption that you’d fail.
  11. They don’t fear alone time: My favorite Elon Musk has gone on record that he fears being alone. As people get busy and successful, they become more discreet about whom they want to be with. That leads to being alone for a long time. Moreover, being with people all the time deprives you of your alone time which is required if you want to be creative. 
  12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything: Many people feel they are the center of the universe and hence are more worthy than others. Too much focus on self-indulgence leads to a problem of entitlement. Mentally strong people are empathetic and don’t put themselves first over others. Practicing humility makes you stronger. 
  13. They don’t expect immediate results: Not everything happens at a time and pace as we wish. Patience is still considered a virtue. Expecting haste could sometimes have damaging results. 

Key takeaways-

  1. The book shows a clear mirror to every reader about the lacunae we all have and ways and means to overcome them.
  2. It’s a reminder that behavioral changes are needed if we want to be successful in life
  3. Knowing and avoiding pitfalls helps in the long run

Why I recommend this book

It’s my favorite for several reasons, one of them being that it highlights one’s drawbacks like nothing else. Agreed that no one is born perfect but introspection and adapting to change has led to some great turnarounds in the lives of people. 

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