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For some people, failure becomes a permanent roadblock between them and success. For the mentally strong, however, setbacks are an opportunity to sharpen skills and become better at what they do. Whether they are passed up for a promotion or their side hustle costs more money than it earns, mentally strong people don’t let failure define them.
Here’s how mentally strong people turn setbacks into comebacks:
1. They keep failure in proper perspective.
Mentally strong people don’t get overly upset when things don’t go as planned. Instead, they keep setbacks in proper perspective. They intentionally regulate their thoughts and manage their emotions so they can continue to behave productively, despite any hardships they face.
Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, college psychology instructor and internationally recognized expert on mental strength. She’s the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do(link is external), a USA Today bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages. Since 2002, she has been counseling children, teens, and adults. Amy serves as Verywell’s Parenting Teens Expert and Child Discipline Expert.
Editor: Arman Ahmed
2. They practice self-compassion.
Rather than beat themselves up for not getting it right the first time, mentally strong people maintain a productive inner dialogue. They talk to themselves the same way they’d speak to a trusted friend—with kind and supportive words of encouragement.
3. They choose to be grateful.
Instead of becoming upset that their first attempt didn’t work, mentally strong people choose to be grateful for opportunities to try new things. Their willingness to look for the silver lining keeps their mood positive as they commit to moving forward.
4. They respect their vulnerabilities.
Mentally strong people use failure as an opportunity to spot their weaknesses. Rather than dispute their shortcomings or hide their mistakes, they seek to be authentic. A humble, self-aware approach helps them develop strategies to become a better person.
5. They acknowledge their strengths.
Setbacks give mentally strong people chances to evaluate their strengths, but they acknowledge their positive attributes without arrogance; they don’t need to brag about their characteristics or achievements. Instead, they simply recognize what they do well so they can build upon these existing strengths.
6. They create a plan to become better.
Mentally strong people view failure as part of the long road to success. They turn each setback into an opportunity to gather more information. Armed with more knowledge, they create a plan to try again.
7. They maintain a healthy self-worth.
A mentally strong person’s self-worth is contingent upon who he is, not what he does. As long as they behave according to their values, mentally strong people feel good about themselves, regardless of their personal or professional failures. Their confidence helps them find the courage to get back up each time they fall.
Build Mental Strength
Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. You can perform exercises and develop healthy habits—and give up your unproductive habits—to build mental muscle every day. The stronger you grow, the more likely you’ll be to turn your next setback into your biggest comeback.