Stefan Knapen

PhD-student – Co-assistent

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin

I read the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. Here are my notes and thoughts.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin

13 thingsISBN: 0062358294
Read: Winter 2015
Amazon page for more details and reviews. page for Dutch readers.

I got this book after reading a blogpost on a website. The basic premise of the book is in this blogpost, if you want a little more backstory, it is in the book. Not a recommended read though, I think the blogpost was enough.

All these notes are directly from the book, cursive text are my thoughts.

My Notes on Kindle:

We work hard to do the things that we think will make us better, but we forget to focus on the things that might be sabotaging our efforts.

Developing mental strength is about improving your ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner, despite your circumstances.

“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.” — John Gardner

Feeling sorry for yourself can buy time. Instead of taking action or moving forward, exaggerating how bad your situation is justifies why you shouldn’t do anything to improve it.

Feeling sorry for yourself is self-destructive.

Indulging in self-pity hinders living a full life in the following ways:

  • It’s a waste of time
  • It leads to more negative emotions
  • It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy
  • It prevents you from dealing with other emotions
  • It causes you to overlook the good things in life
  • It interferes with your relationships

Instead of pitying ourselves for what we lost, we choose to feel grateful for what we had.

When you notice self-pity creeping into your life, make a conscious effort to do something contrary to how you feel.

The key to changing your feelings is finding which behaviors will extinguish your feelings of self-pity.

What advice would I give to a loved one who had this problem? This is a very interesting take on advice for yourself. We all love to give advise to other, what if somebody else had the exact problem you are having, what would you say? And what would you say if he/she did not take the advice?

While feeling sorry for yourself is about thinking I deserve better, gratitude is about thinking I have more than I deserve.

Getting active and behaving in a way that makes you less likely to feel sorry for yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.

“When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.” —Dale Carnegie

There are many problems with giving away your power:

  • You depend on others to regulate your feelings.
  • You let other people define your self-worth.
  • You avoid addressing the real problem.
  • You become a victim of your circumstances.
  • You become highly sensitive to criticism.
  • You lose sight of your goals.
  • You ruin relationships.

Each second you spend commiserating with coworkers about how unfair your boss is, you are giving your boss more power.

Every time you lose your cool, you give that other person your power.

Retaining your power is about evaluating feedback to determine if it has any validity.

Why might this person be giving me this feedback? Take a step back and see if you can find out why this person may be giving you negative feedback.

Oprah didn’t let her childhood or her former employer take away her power. A woman who was once teased because she was so poor she wore potato sacks as dresses was named one of the world’s most powerful women by both CNN and Time. Statistically, her upbringing would have predicted a poor prognosis. But Oprah refused to be a statistic. She chose to define who she was going to be in life by not giving away her power.

You’ll develop a better sense of who you are when you’re able to make choices based on what’s best for you instead of what will prevent the most repercussions.

Using language that acknowledges your choice such as, “I’m choosing to . . .”

Taking full responsibility for how you choose to spend your time and energy

“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t . . . It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” — James Gordon

Many people shy away from change because they think that doing something different is too risky or uncomfortable.

New Year’s resolutions are commonly broken, because we try to make changes based on a date and not because we’re really ready.

Life can get pretty boring if you don’t do anything differently. A person who simply decides to keep things as mundane and low-key as possible isn’t likely to experience a rich, full life and might become depressed.

Pay attention to the emotions that are influencing your decision as well.

Create a goal for what you would like to accomplish in the next thirty days.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” — Maya Angelou.

Doctors like having patients with a strong internal locus of control because they do everything possible to treat and prevent illness.

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. — Lao Tzu

When a people pleaser sees a car approaching quickly, he may drive faster because he thinks, That guy is in a hurry. I don’t want to make him mad by going too slow. This hits home big time personally. Interesting thought.

In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, she explains how dying people often said they wished they had lived a more authentic life. Instead of dressing, acting, and speaking in a manner that was pleasing to others, they’d wished they’d been true to themselves.

Your words and your behavior must be in line with your beliefs before you can begin to enjoy a truly authentic life.

We behave more recklessly when we think there are safety nets in place, and ultimately, we increase our risk.

Monitor the outcome of the risks that you take. Take notice of how you felt before, during, and after taking a risk. Ask yourself what you learned and how you can apply that knowledge to future decisions.

It can be tempting to fixate on how much easier or happier life was “back then.”

Reflect on the past enough that you can learn from it.

And when we deny our mistakes, we are less likely to examine them and gain any true understanding or lessons from them, making us more susceptible to repeating them in the future.

If you’re guilty of always getting yourself caught up in similar problems, your friends and family may grow tired of hearing you complain.

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. — Nelson Mandela

While jealousy can be described as “I want what you have,” resentment over someone’s success goes further: “I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it.”

It’s easy to resent what others have when you don’t even know what you want yourself.

Attempts to “outdo” or “one-up” other people usually aren’t flattering, but sometimes, resentful people behave this way out of desperation to try and prove their worth.

Avoid comparing yourself to other people. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples and oranges. You have your own set of unique talents, skills, and life experiences, so comparing yourself to other people isn’t an accurate way to measure your self-worth. Instead, compare yourself to who you used to be and measure how you’re growing as an individual.

“Write your own book instead of reading someone else’s book about success,” he famously told his players.

Grit is a better predictor of success than IQ. Clearly, not everyone with a high IQ reaches a high level of achievement. In fact, a person’s IQ isn’t a very good predictor of whether he or she will become successful. Grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, has been shown to be a much more accurate predictor of achievement than IQ.

If you get used to failing, it becomes a lot less scary, especially once you learn that failure and rejection aren’t the worst things that could happen to you.

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone. — Blaise Pascal

There are also societal pressures to be productive. People who feel like they must be accomplishing something all the time may view “alone time” as “wasting time”.

Moderate alone time is good for kids.

Use alone time to do the following:

  • Reflect on your goals.
  • Pay attention to your feelings.
  • Set goals for the future.
  • Write in a journal.

Developing an improved sense of self-awareness can help you continue to recognize what’s holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. — Robert Jones Burdette

Life isn’t meant to be fair.

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. — Napoleon Hill

A 1972 study called “Self-Initiated Attempts to Change Behavior: A Study of New Year’s Resolutions” found that 25 percent of the study’s participants abandoned their New Year’s resolutions after fifteen weeks. Fast-forward to 1989, and 25 percent of people were abandoning their resolutions after only one week.

If you expect a cake to be baked quickly, you may open the oven door repeatedly. Each time you open the door, you allow heat to escape, which ultimately means the cake will take longer to bake.

Before you set out to reach your goal – whether you want to start a business or learn a new meditation – consider how you’ll measure progress by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How will I know if what I’m doing is working?
  • What is a realistic time frame to see results?
  • What kind of results can I realistically expect to see within one week, one month, six months and one year?
  • How will I know that I’m staying on track toward my goal?

When you become mentally strong, you will be your best self, have the courage to do what’s right, and develop a true comfort with who you are and what you are capable of achieving.

My Thoughts

This started as an interesting read, but after a while in the book I got the feeling iI got the gist of it in the first couple of chapters. It may be that I already am a fairly mentally strong person, although I have not been tested that intensely. It was an interesting read, but a complete book about was a little extensive. I got the book after reading a clickbait article on Business Insider, you can get the basic premise of the book from this blog post!

So, not highly recommended. If you want to check it out, you can get it from Amazon or Bol.