13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do (2014) Book Summary and Insights

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Book Title: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Subtitle: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness

Publication Date: 2014

Author Name: Amy Morin

Book Summary

Mental strength is essential to dealing with the problems that associate themselves with one’s daily life. Developing mental strength involves improving one’s ability to regulate emotions, manage thoughts and behave positively. This book is a great self-improvement tool. This book illustrates that when it comes down to building mental strength just like physical strength, you must do what is necessary, as well as remember to avoid certain things. In each chapter in this book, the author gives details about the habits to get rid of to help one develop mental strength. Read the following insights to understand the habits mentally strong people have to avoid or let go of to build their mental strength successfully.     

Who Is This Book For?

It is for people who intend to develop mental strength, with an aim to get rid of their problems, overcome failures and achieve success.

About The Author 

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, instructor at Northeastern University, and psychotherapist. She is the author of the international bestseller 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, as well as 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do. Amy serves as a parenting expert for Verywell, and is a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc., and Psychology Today. She is the only person in the psychology industry who is talking about mental strength on a global level. She gave one of the most viewed TEDx talks of all time and was named the “self-help guru of the moment” by The Guardian. She lives in Marathon, Florida. 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do is her third book.

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Book Insights

Engaging in Self-pity

The author guarantees that feeling sorry for yourself will weaken your mental strength. Why do we feel sorry for ourselves? Most people use self-pity to gain attention, to elicit kindness or gentle words from others. As much as some can use it as an attention seeking tool, others use self-pity as some form of defiance. Feeling sorry for yourself is self-destructive and can lead to problems which eventually cause serious consequences. It is exhausting and invariantly a waste of time. Once, you allow yourself to get overtaken with it; it ignites a lot of other negative emotions; like anger, resentment, and loneliness. Asides that, it interferes with relationships, causes you to overlook the good going on in your life. Mentally strong people do not indulge in self-pity. They stop feeling sorry for themselves and adapt some behavioral changes that make self-pity hard for them to engage in. Try to practice gratitude and appreciate the kindness of others and watch the negative emotions disperse. Mentally strong people do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves.

Giving Other People Power over You

It is impossibly difficult to be mentally strong when you give other people the power the control how you think, feel, and behave. You risk giving away power to other people when you do not set healthy emotional and physical boundaries. Anytime you avoid saying no to something you do not really want, you give away your power. Or let’s say you dislike the way someone treats you, but you chose not to stand up for yourself, you are also giving such person power over your life. When you give away your power, you become helpless and dependent on others to regulate your feelings. You let others be able to determine your self-worth. Not just that, you lose sight of your goals and lose the ability to evaluate criticisms. Regain your power by identifying those who have been able to take it away from you and give unconditional forgiveness. Sometimes in keeping your power, change your outlook on situations, try as much as possible to evaluate feedbacks and criticisms critically to determine if it has any validity. In taking back your power you become stronger and powerful just as Oprah Winfrey. She did not let the struggles of her childhood or her former employer to take away her power. She defined who she would be in life by not giving away her power. Mentally strong people do not give away their power.   

Hesitating to Embrace Change  

Making a change is hard. It is always so easy to say you want to change, but changing successfully is very difficult. There are different changes, some, one might find easier than others. There is the All-or-nothing change, the habit change, trying-something-new change, the behavioral change, emotional change and cognitive change. Thoughts and emotions often prevent behavioral changes that can be life altering positively. Many people shy away from making changes that can drastically improve their lives because they think engaging in something different is too risky or uncomfortable. Shying away from change can have serious consequences. It interferes with your personal growth. The author mentions that embracing positive change leads to an increased motivation and encourages the readers to follow the laid down steps in the book towards creating a plan for successful change. Mentally strong people do not shy away from change.  

Fixation on What one Cannot Control

When we have things under control, it gives a feeling of safety. Getting a handle on things and determining what is within your control largely depends on your belief system, which psychologically is your locus of control. This locus of control defines your view on your circumstances. There are several factors which influence this locus of control; whether your childhood experiences, your experiences throughout life. External forces can as well affect changes of exerting successful control, so it is necessary to strike a balance. Trying to maintain complete control over things you cannot control leads to increased anxiety, wastes time and energy amongst others. This balance you can achieve by willingness to examine your beliefs about what you can truly control and what you cannot. As a mentally strong person do not fixate on things beyond your control. When you stop trying to control every aspect of your life, you will have more time and energy to devote to the things that you can control which will give you the ability to fulfill unimaginable accomplishments. Mentally strong people do not focus on things they cannot control.    

Worrying About Pleasing Others

It is an impossible feat to please everyone around you. Pleasing people will hold you back from reaching your full potential. You should avoid people pleasing and invest your time in achieving your goals. Do not worry about pleasing others and doing what they want you to do, it is a waste of time. Define your own path. When you accept that you cannot please everyone it strengthens you. Stop worrying about pleasing others and go about living your life according to your own values. This will eventually increase your self-confidence, accord you more time to work on yourself, reduce stress, establish a healthier relationship, improve your communication and increase your willpower. Mentally strong people do not worry about pleasing everyone.    

Fear Of Calculated Risks

We face certain risks in life, but often fear prevents people from taking the risks that could help them reach their full potential. Too often we might decide not to think about a risk due to the fear it evokes and without understanding the potential outcomes of risk taking, we avoid risky ideas or dreams. The lack of knowledge in calculating risks increases fear which often leads to avoidance. Taking calculated risks strengthens you and there are steps one can take to increase your ability to calculate risks accurately, and with constant practice improve your risk-taking skills. Mentally strong people do not fear taking calculated risks.

Dwelling On The Past

Self-reflection is healthy. However, dwelling can be self-destructive. You sometimes feel like the best days of your life are already behind you. It can prevent you from enjoying the present and planning for the future. It can be tempting to focus on how much we feel life was easier or happier at the past. It can even lead you to regret certain decisions which brought you thus far. You should know dwelling on the past will not change it instead it will lead to future problems. You interfere with your ability to be your best self when you dwell on the past. It does not just affect your ability to be better; it eventually influences your emotions and behavior. As a mentally strong person you have to make the choice to move past the past and live in the moment. Mentally strong people do not dwell on the past.

Repetition Of Mistakes

Sometimes, we tend to not learn from our mistakes even though we like to think we do. It is quite normal. Everyone repeats mistakes sometimes. Mistakes are behavioral and certain factors like stubbornness, impulsivity are part of the reasons people repeat mistakes. When you keep repeating mistakes you will not reach your goal, the problem perpetuates and does not get solved. Mentally strong people study their mistakes and building their self-discipline to avoid repeating mistakes. In solving a problem, there are different ways, if the method you are using proves to be unsuccessful then try a new method. Mentally strong people do not make the same mistakes over and over.

Resenting Others Success

Limitation can come from comparing yourself to other people. Jealousy refers to thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear and concern. It is a feeling that breeds certain emotions like resentment which is unhealthy. You feel disgust towards those who have been able to achieve their dreams. This feeling of resentment over other people’s achievements is likely based on irrational thinking which can cause you to act illogically. Unlike anger which someone is more likely to express, resentment usually remains hidden. Resentment can easily consume your life and it stems from various factors; a sense of injustice, deep-rooted insecurities. Instead of being resentful, try to be happy over other people’s accomplishments and by so doing you will attract successful people. And when you surround yourself with these people you may gain motivation, inspiration, and information which can help you on your journey to success. Mentally strong people do not resent other people’s success.

Giving Up At First Failure

If at first you do not succeed, try, try again. In as much some people get motivated to do better when they experience failure, others just give up. You should not feel the need to only take part in things you are likely to excel at, even though the thought of failure can be unsettling. According to the author, it is difficult to succeed without failing at least once. Failure brings about learning experience and each time you move forward with the knowledge gained from it you grow mentally strong. Mentally strong people do not let failure be the end; rather they treat it as the beginning of their journey to success. Irrational thoughts about failure may cause you to quit after the first failed attempt. Focus more on the outcome of the task. Mentally strong people do not give up after the first failure.

Fear Of Being Alone

When you create time to be alone with your thoughts, it becomes a powerful experience that can help you reach your goals. You should not confuse being alone with being lonely. Loneliness has been shown to be linked to poor sleep, high blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and increased stress hormones. Being alone however does not necessarily cause loneliness. Sometimes, even when surrounded by others in a crowded room, one can still feel lonely. Taking out time to renew oneself through solitude and practicing meditation has its benefits. Spending alone time whether through meditation or just taking a quiet time is the best way to know yourself. And in getting to know yourself better, you recognize whatever may be holding you from reaching your potential. Mentally strong people do not fear alone time.

Sense Of Entitlement

Having the erroneous thought that the world owes you something is unhealthy. If you have entitlement mentality, having the belief that you should not have to work as hard or go through the same process as everyone else is bother line ridiculous. Most people who have a sense of entitlement lack self-awareness. Become more aware of these subtle moments of entitlement. In other to become mentally strong, learn how to stop complaining about not getting what you think you deserve. Focus on giving rather than on what you want to take. Mentally strong people do not feel the world owes them anything.

Patience And Immediate Results

Mentally strong people recognize that most times getting a quick fix is not the best solution. You cannot get everything you want instantaneously. To reach your full potential you have to develop realistic expectations and understand that success is not an overnight process. Be willing to overcome short-term temptation. When you commit to the long haul, your chances of being able to reach your goals increase. Mentally strong people do not expect immediate results.                      

Key Quotes

Here are some key quotes from the book:

“Retaining your power is about being confident in who you are and the choices you make, despite the people around you and the circumstances you’re in.” – Amy Morin,13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success.

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – NAPOLEON HILL” – Amy Morin, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success.


Being mentally strong is channeling your best self, being comfortable with whom you are and your achievements. Put in place and follow strategies that will enable you to attain your full potential in life.

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Editorial Member at LarnEdu is a team of content writers led by Giovanni Olakunori.

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