How to improve performance and wellbeing through mental toughness

Mental Toughness describes the mindset that every person adopts in everything they do. It is defined as:

“A personality trait which determines, in large part, how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of  their circumstances”.

Mental Toughness assesses “how we think”. In other words, why we act and respond emotionally to events. It enables us to understand mindset in a very practical way. Research carried out under the direction of Professor Peter Clough of Huddersfield University identified eight factors to be understood and assessed. This is shown below:


  1. Life Control – I believe in myself, I can do it
  2. Emotional Control – I can manage my emotions and the emotions of others


  • Goal Orientation –  I set goals and like the idea of working towards goals
  • Achievement Orientation – I do what it takes to keep promises and achieve goals


  • Risk Orientation – I stretch myself, welcoming new and different experiences
  • Learning Orientation – I learn from what happen, including setbacks


  • In Abilities – I believe I have the ability to do it, or can acquire the ability
  • Interpersonal Confidence – I can influence others

Can we develop Mental Toughness?

We can. We can either help someone change their mental toughness or we can show someone how to adopt the behviours that a mentality tough person would adopt. Either way, many of the benefits of developing mental toughness can be achieved.

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