By Olivia Schmid | | Layout Assistant

Photo Courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do (13TMSWDD) by Amy Morin makes some phenomenal points about ways women can succeed more in the workplace, school, and life.  I’ll be exploring some of these concepts in the fourth part of my mini-series about the acclaimed personal-development book.

What does Amy Morin claim that mentally strong women (or dare I say, mentally strong people) DON’T do? 

  • They don’t avoid tough challenges (Chapter 6).
  • They don’t fear breaking the rules (Chapter 7).
  • They don’t put others down to lift themselves up (Chapter 8).

First, let’s talk about facing tough challenges; a lot of this has to do with your comfort zone and what is realistic versus what is not. To cut right to the chase, you have to act bravely to become brave. Morin believes that if you change your behavior first, your emotions are soon to follow. The fear is “simply temporary.” 

Go at your own pace, and do things on your terms. You don’t need the validation of others to live your own life (your life, remember; not theirs). You simply just don’t need anyone else’s “OK” other than your own. YOU control your life, and I’m a firm believer that you can truly have anything and everything you want in this life.

So, “What kind of pace is a good one for facing hard things?” you may ask. Perhaps you choose one small thing you can do in a week that is outside your comfort zone. Morin points out that you can set one big goal for the month which is a bit riskier to spice things up. She gives the example of asking your boss for a promotion or more responsibility. The fact of the matter is if you get used to taking small steps, you’ll feel more confident facing tougher and tougher challenges as you grow. It’s about proactively challenging yourself to become better, not just sitting around and waiting for those moments to come to you.

College is one of the most experimental parts of our lives. So what can we do to take on challenges here at F&M? Instead of thinking that assignments in class are impossible to complete or manage, think “My professor expects a lot from me because I’m capable and dependable” or “I can do more than I think when I really put my mind to it.” As I (and Amy Morin) always say, it’s all about the mindset. This being said, it’s also a tough challenge to speak up for yourself when necessary (this goes for all aspects of life). So know your limits!!

Speaking of limits… Morin’s next point (found in Chapter 7) is “mentally strong women don’t fear breaking the rules.” A lot of the time, things need to be shaken up to create change. Take this year’s election for example. Our generation showed up to the polls in one of the greatest voter turnouts in the history of this country in the hopes of affecting change. Generation Z is very adamant about addressing the not-so-great parts of society that have become “normal.” It’s a great example of a way that “everyday people” can make change happen collectively on a larger scale.

So, more on breaking the rules. Recognize the unwritten rules that everyone in your environment follows: what expectations are present? And are they reasonably expected? I’m not out here to tell you to be too rebellious and disrespectful, but again, fight for the change you wish to see in the world. Sometimes questioning and fighting against certain rules and formalities is the only way to make change happen. 

Morin explains that when you choose to do something against the rules, if nothing else, it can be freeing to know that you lived life on your terms, not anyone else’s. Along this same line, justify your choices… to yourself. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you choose to live your life, and you don’t have to explain your actions to someone to whom it doesn’t even concern. Morin also points out that doing the simple act of asking yourself why you’re doing something can help you escape herd mentality; many times you can’t justify staying silent about current situations (again, extremely relevant to our world today) just because everyone else is.

In Chapter 8 of 13TMSWDD, Morin claims that mentally strong women don’t put others down to lift themselves up… and I 100% agree. 

Why are we guilty of this in the first place? C’mon, let’s be honest for a second.  Yes, gossip can feel good; sometimes it’s as if you’re the only one who will ever know a piece of information.  Pointing out other people’s flaws to ensure that they see them sounds powerful, a shoo-in to the “greatest friend groups.” But Morin encourages you to take different steps of action for real, healthy satisfaction that beats temporarily looking “cool.” And for what? Many claim that gossiping or talking about other people’s issues reduces stress, or maybe they even consider themselves as some type of savior who’s “warning” others about someone else’s poor behavior.  Hate to break it to you (or more like, hate to have Morin break it to you), but any satisfaction people claim to get from talking about others is simply temporary. And many people just find it gross.

I know that something I’m pretty guilty of is being easily annoyed, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Morin doesn’t hesitate for even a second in 13TMSWDD to call me out on my BS. She posed the question, “What are annoying people trying to teach you?” Could it be possible that the very people who aggravate you to the core are the ones that help you reframe your thoughts the most? Reframing the thoughts you have about other people should also help you acknowledge what is just your opinion versus what is the fact at hand (no matter how factual you may find your opinion).

And back to the whole “mental strength” shindig: putting down others is SO easy in today’s society, especially since we have all the power to do so by the use of technology. However, it takes true strength of character to be kind and respectful in all circumstances. Again, there is most likely something to learn from the situations that bother you the most.

The strongest suggestion Morin gives is to build your self-worth on a healthy foundation. This does not include your appearance, your net worth, who you know, what you do, and/or what you achieve. Instead of chasing these things that temporarily boost your self-esteem, measure your self-worth by who you are at your core (a.k.a. your values and your purpose).

Ah yes. Purpose. However you define your “purpose” and whatever you believe that to be, live by that. Live by your values, live by your morals, and by what makes you you. Do it without a care in the world; you deserve the freedom and happiness that springs from it. THAT, my friend, is true mental strength. That’s the gist.

First-year Olivia Schmid is a Layout Assistant. Her email is