Mettle: Do you have it?



To have mettle means that you keep going and work through something, even if it’s hard. Without mettle, you are unlikely to be able to navigate turbulent times with much success—but the good news is that anyone can learn this valuable skill. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re struggling, since mettle can only be learned through the act of dealing with adversity.

Having mettle means to embrace those everyday failures—in school, work, or your personal life—as signposts on the road to success. And by success, I mean learning from your mistakes and becoming a much better person for it.

From an outside perspective, there is at first no difference between someone who has mettle and someone who has not—just as the object made of plastic probably doesn’t look any different to the one made of metal, if they are both coated in the same paint.

However, the weight and durability of the two objects differs, just as people with mettle are weightier in the face of the life’s storms than those without. Over time, the former will display a stoic resistance to the erosion caused by disappointment and pain, whereas the latter may crumble, stumble and fall.

People with mettle are better equipped and more likely to withstand those inevitable setbacks that happen to us all—those setbacks that are part of the nature of life, with it’s ups and downs, and swings and roundabouts.

Without setbacks, you don’t get to find out what you’re made of, and you won’t learn to thrive. We simply can’t control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we choose to respond to situations, and it is this developed response of positivity and resilience that adds up to create the quality we call mettle.

How do you deal with adversity, either at work, school or home? If it’s not as well as you could, try thinking about some constructive ways to approach current or future problems. You may be surprised at the results.


Written by Catherine Heath

Photography courtesy of  Scott W. Vincent