Building Mental Toughness #3: Know What Matters

Building Mental Toughness #3: Know What Matters
June 26, 2018 Niels van Hove

Actively working on building your Mental Toughness increases mental health, well-being and performance. In a series of 15 short blogs, I’ll describe 15 elements that improve your mental toughness. This is part 3: Know What Matters

Know What Matters

Even when you’re in a terrible situation, it is good to keep perspective and think about what matters. Acknowledge your issues and how they make you feel, but realise there are more important things out there. You will likely get out of this situation one day and your life will go on. Your self-worth is made up from more than just this situation. You are a friend, a partner, maybe a parent. Your friends and family will still love you. No matter what. You have hobbies and things you are good at.

If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.

If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.

Dalai Lama

Knowing what matters is very much linked to the emotional control attribute of Mental Toughness. Knowing what matters helps us keep our emotions and anxiety under control in a stressful situation. It helps us focus on what we can control and worry less  about what we can’t control. It gives us a reason to put our problems in perspective and choose not to take things too personally. Knowing what matters gives us a positive anchor to relate to, reminds us there are still many good things happening, and helps us to avoid becoming overwhelmed with our issues.

Some of the below self-interventions and habits are proven to  increase our mood and happiness and therefore our ability to deal with hardship:

  • Savour important moments.
  • Practise gratitude.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.
  • Every day, write down three  good things that happened to you.
  • Let go of what you can’t control.
  • Write down what’s important for you in life

Questions to ask yourself when you stand in front of the mirror:

  • Do I appreciate the important things in life?
  • Am I thankful for what I have?
  • What are the important things in my life?
  • Do I spend enough time on what matters?


Niels is a mental toughess coach and founder of He is passionate about bringing mental toughness to the world, one individual, family, school or company at the time. He authored a self-help guide Building Mental Toughness for adults and an illustrated children’s book; My Strong Mind