How to Start Building a MTNTOUGH Mindset: Mentally Tough People Share These Two Traits

At MTNTOUGH, we talk a lot about having a ‘winning mindset.’ But what, exactly, does that mean? And what does it look like in your day-to-day? Just as important, how do you achieve a winning mindset? 

To everyone here at MTNTOUGH, a winning mindset is an outlook that’s prepared to tackle all situations - both everyday and extraordinary. A winning mindset doesn’t get negative when the chips are down or the bottom falls out. It’s a mindset that doesn’t look to blame others for their problems but rather shoulders the load and takes responsibility for their situation. Having a winning mindset means having a positive attitude in tough situations where your attitude may well be the only thing you can control. And in those situations, the importance of attitude mindset become incredibly clear and of utmost importance. 

A winning mindset has very little to do with physical ability or athletic prowess, and everything to do with mental toughness. Time and time again, athletically gifted and super in-shape trainees are among the first to drop from rigorous training pipelines in the military and civilian world. Often, it’s the unassuming guy that makes it though. The one who struggles with the physical evolutions in training but has complete control of his or her mind. But how do you master your own mind? 

Top performers often break up an imposing task into much smaller, attainable pieces.  

Desmond Tutu, South African human rights activist and winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize famously said, “There is but one way to eat an elephant. One bite at a time.” 

It’s easier said than done, sure, but if you can train your mind to only focus on the task that’s immediately in front of you rather than the many looming in the background, you’re already halfway there. Students going through BUD/S, the infamously hard training pipeline required to become a U.S. Navy SEAL, speak about focusing on making it first to breakfast, then to lunch and finally dinner. Focusing on the short term and blocking out the fact that there are months of training that lie ahead keeps students from being overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the overall task. 

Applying the same principle to difficult workouts and everyday life is effective in much the same way. Set a small goal, achieve it, then set another. Achieve that one. Set another. So on and so forth. Before you know it, the workout, business presentation, etc., is over and you’re in the clear. 

Another great way to put your mind in check through a tough situation or difficult workout is to focus on others.

Often, we have the tendency to shrink inward during challenging situations, to focus only on our own struggle. That mindset becomes a slippery slope that tricks you into thinking you’re the only one going through a hard time. It tricks you into thinking you might be only person to ever feel what you’re feeling at the given moment. Obviously, that just isn’t true. 

During tough workouts here at The Lab, consistent top performers shift their focus outward. Instead of focusing on their personal suffering, they focus on the team. They realize that, while their own pain is very real, there’s a whole lot more folks in the exact same boat. They offer an encouraging word or push just a bit further so that someone else doesn’t have to. Get out of your own head. Think about others.

The path to a winning mindset isn’t exactly easy. And it’s certainly not a final destination. A great outlook and positive attitude one day doesn’t mean you’re good to go. It’s a constant struggle, a constant battle. Everyone has an off day now and again. Maintaining a winning mindset is something that takes significant effort all the time, and it can be easy to slip out of that positive outlook. Like making your bed or eating breakfast, it’s a daily routine that requires daily attention. 


MTNTOUGH believes that mental toughness is just as important as physical strength and that the strongest muscle in the human body is the one between your ears. With a coaching staff comprised of former Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, and renowned physical trainers—the workouts aren’t easy. The goal is to prepare clients for both the unthinkable and the everyday—to have the mental capacity and physical stamina to self-rescue in an emergency, or grind through a 12-hour workday and still play with the kids after dinner. Ara Megerdichian, MTNTOUGH coach and former U.S. Army officer and Ranger, believes the best way to harden the mind is by reaching and exceeding physical boundaries, by taking challenges once considered impossible and making them attainable and repeatable.