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We talk about self-awareness as if it is something we have just understood. In fact, we have always known it to be important but we have not always been able to pin it down in a way that matters for our development.

Perhaps we can now. But we are talking not just about self-awareness about our behaviour but, more importantly, self-awareness of an important factor in our behaviour – our mental responses. This is what the mental toughness concept describes in impressive detail.

As readers of our series of posts will know, we recognise that the earlier written record of this “new” idea is 2500 years old. Plato describes it as fortitude and explains this in a way that closely aligns with our understanding of the concept. It formed one of 4 virtues which still underpins much of the way many societies seek to behave.

The quote heading this article is from St Augustine. It recognises that knowing and understanding yourself (self-awareness) is the key to being the best version of yourself that you can be. It’s the key to success (whatever that means for each of us) and to well-being.

It is perhaps not surprising, he is thought to have developed the most influential adaptation of Plato’s ideas which resonate to this day.

The development of the 4Cs Mental toughness concept, particularly in its 8-factor form, represents a major step forward in understanding a key aspect of personality – How we think when things happen to us and around us and why that impacts “how we act” – our behaviour.

This is how to “know thyself”.  “Love thyself” matters too. We also talk today about self-care and valuing ourselves as worthwhile people who can make a difference for themselves and others. Again, much of this is captured in the mental toughness concept

The image below shows the 8 factors and briefly what they represent. There are 10s of thousands of potential combinations. Recognising that we are individuals and where our differences from one another lie. This might signal the end of “one size fits all” development.

Is Mental Toughness important? Self-awareness is key

Managing our behaviour is essential for us and for the people with whom we connect. It impacts on their performance and their wellbeing. It’s clearly an issue in leadership, management and in team working and it is visible where one of its most important components, your mental toughness, is not.

We are often asked about the significance of the mental toughness concept. It is significant. It stretches our understanding of the human psyche. Its main significance is as an enabler which helps us to understand where much of our behaviour comes from and, through this, helps us to understand how behaviour can be developed.

For information about learning about the 4Cs mental toughness concept, and becoming a licensed user of the MTQ suite of measures contact:

The MTQPlus measure is available in 14 languages, accessible to more than 2/3rds of the world’s population.

Completion of the MTQ Licensed user training programme is recognised by EMCC and ICF for CPD purposes.