It's rare that I find an article on mental strength to be 100 percent correct. This one is.
I have no reason to believe that either Amy Morin or Cheryl Conner is an Objectivist, but their views expressed in “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid” are fully consistent with the philosophy. The article offers excellent practical advice for selfish living, and it’s very heartening to see it in the mainstream media.
Although the article frames the 13 points as things mentally strong people avoid, it’s worth noting that each point has a corresponding positive essence. The list is not merely 13 things to avoid, but, more importantly, 13 life-serving things to do. For instance, the positive elements in the first four are:
- When circumstances are tough or “[you’ve] been mistreated . . . take responsibility for [your] actions and outcomes . . . understand . . . the fact that frequently life is not fair. . . . emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly . . . respond with phrases such as 'Oh, well.' Or perhaps simply, 'Next!'” (Although “life” per se cannot be “unfair,” I take the authors to mean that mistreatment is unfair. —CB)
- "[U]nderstand [you] are in control of [your] actions and emotions. . . . know [your] strength is in [your] ability to manage the way [you] respond." (Although there is a sense in which you are not in control of your emotions, in that they are automatic responses to your value judgments, there are also senses in which you are in control of them. One is that you can change your thinking and values and thus over time change your emotional reactions to things. Another is that you can refuse to be driven by your emotions. This latter is clearly what the authors mean here. —CB)
- "[E]mbrace change . . . welcome challenge . . . and even uncertainty [as these] can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best."
- "[R]ecognize that [many] factors are generally beyond [your] control. . . . one thing [you] always control is [your] own response and attitude, . . . use these attributes well."
You’ll find similar positive elements in all 13 points.
Read the whole article, soak in the goodness, and keep an eye on these two life-loving ladies. Only mentally strong minds could have produced such exceptional value.
- Review: Your Brain at Workm/issues/2006-winter/mr-jekyll-dr-house
- Mr. Jekyll and Dr. House: The Reason-Emotion Split as Manifested in House, M.D.