"How do I become mentally strong?" originally appeared on Quora--the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Dean Yeong, entrepreneur and writer on DeanYeong.com, on Quora:

I don't think mental toughness is something you are born with, and I strongly believe it's something we can all learn along the journey. After studying many examples of successful people and top performers, here are the 10 traits people with high mental toughness have in common.

  • Delayed gratification. Most people fail because they give in to temptations or give up to challenges too quickly. Mentally strong people understand how to work hard and contribute more now before they even think about returns. Psychologist Walter Mischel proved the ability of delayed gratification contributes to one's success later in life in his marshmallow experiment held in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Embrace constraints. We want to believe we have total freedom, and we think more freedom makes us better off. The truth is the opposite. When some people naively want to have all the freedom, happy people embrace constraints. When they want all the glory, successful people embrace failures. When they want to be perfect, mentally strong people embrace imperfections.
  • Never seek for permission. They own themselves responsible. They never seek for permission and authority. They make their own way. If they made mistakes and hit a roadblock, they suck it up. They don't control things that can't be controlled--such as money and people. But besides those, they are always in control, especially of their own state of mind.
  • Focus on the fundamentals. Start with the fundamentals. Focus on the thing that matters the most. This helps us to eliminate distractions and cut through the noise.
  • Consistency. Mentally strong people are not born to be strong mentally, but they learned along the way. Success doesn't come in a day or two, and mentally strong people understand the power of consistency. They take tiny actions continuously and focus on their progress. They build habit consciously.
  • Self-awareness. Figure out your vision and purpose. Define your own identity. Then, know your strengths and weaknesses, know your roles, know your position, and know your goals. People who are self-aware are stronger mentally because they know how to deal with almost every circumstance and environment. Gary Vaynerchuk is someone who constantly emphasizes the importance of self-awareness today!
  • See things as what they really are. Mentally strong people never create stories for themselves. The ability to see a thing as it really is requires practice. To be mentally strong, you need to stop telling yourself the stories that make you comfortable and hide your true self and the reality behind the curtain. Accept the reality and then take action to fight against any adversity.
  • Optimism. One thing that moves us forward is hope. If there is no hope, there is no action, and thus, no results. Mentally strong people believe in themselves and, at the same time, believe in faith. The failure to see hope in everything you do will make you fail before you even try.
  • Embrace uncertainty. Most people want to predict the future. Certainty and safety are necessities since the evolution of mankind. But no one can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy, which means there will always be uncertainty. Weak people flee from it, mentally strong people embrace it.
  • Willingness to learn and expand. Curiosity and the willingness to figure things out make people stronger mentally. Read, experiment, learn, reflect. Successful people never stop learning, even from a defeat, and that's exactly what makes them stronger.

Again, I believe mental toughness can be learned. Although I don't have a defined step-by-step plan to improve your mental strengths right now (I'll do some research and come back to you with this), here are a few simple tips I put together that have helped me to become stronger mentally.

  1. Invest 80 percent of your energy and time to structuring your mindset. Mental toughness is all about how you perceive things and the way of your decision making.
  2. Take risks regularly to push yourself away from your own comfort zone.
  3. Exercise. Pushing your physical limits doesn't only train your body, it trains your mind too.
  4. Be around mentally tough people. We are all shaped by our environment. In this case, we grow stronger mentally by picking up these traits from them.

You don't need to go through massive pain to improve mental toughness. All you need is to invest a little bit of effort, time, energy, and an ounce of willing to be uncomfortable.

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