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Posted 11/10/2023 by DAVID CHARLTON

EP 201: Even The Mentally Tough Can Find Things A Struggle Without Self Awareness

Dr John Perry is Head of Psychology at Mary Immaculate College in Ireland. For several years John has been a core member of the AQR International team which has continued the development of the mental toughness concept and has been central to the work carried out establishing the reliability of the concept. John has published many papers on Mental Toughness often in collaboration with Peter Clough and Kostas Papageorgiou.

John has also led the exploration of specific aspects of Mental Toughness and a variety of applications – including new insights into understanding stress management all of which have direct implication for practitioners.

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Professor Peter Clough needs little introduction. Whilst at the University of Hull, Peter initiated a programme of work which led to the development of the 4Cs concept for Mental Toughness – published in 2002 and is now comfortably the most widely adopted description of Mental Toughness globally. 

Since that time, he has collaborated with researchers all over the world to examine the concept further and to identify links to important aspects of work and life – his name appears on around 50 peer-reviewed papers.

By inclination an applied psychologist, his work has always focused on real-world issues. In recent times, together with long term collaborator Doug Strycharczyk and Dr. John Perry, Peter has been instrumental in taking the Mental Toughness concept to the next level.

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Doug Strycharczyk is viewed as a rock star in the Mental Toughness world.  He has pioneered the application of the mental toughness to a wide variety of sectors.   He’s seen as one of the leading authorities worldwide on the application of the 4Cs Mental Toughness model, Doug works in the Occupational, Educational, Social Work, Sports and Health settings in more than 80 countries.  

He’s the CEO for AQR International and an experienced author who has contributed to a number of books that look at developing mental toughness and resilience with individuals and at an organisational level, with youngsters through to leaders. The development of psychometric tests are also a feature of Doug’s work.

Doug Strycharczyk Books: Developing Mental Toughness, Developing Employability and Enterprise, Developing Resilient Organisations, Developing Mental Toughness in Young People.


Today’s episode is a special, landmark episode as we enter the 200’s! As a result, I decided to clip out some bite-sized bits from previous episodes featuring 3 leading authorities in the mental toughness domain; Dr John Perry, Professor Peter Clough MBE and Doug Strycharczyk, who go onto share their thoughts about the importance of self-awareness whether you are a mentally tough or mentally sensitive individual. 

Their insights come from years of applied work and academic research across sport, education, business and health domains.  Enjoy!

Key Learning Points:

  • Developing self-awareness is very difficult for some people.
  • You can develop yourself through reflection, enhancing your self-awareness, whereby you then go on to try out new things, you learn from different situations, you understand why you felt that way and why you reacted why you did in certain situations.
  • The key driver in the development of mental toughness is self-awareness.
  • Learning about our mental toughness can enable us to understand more about our mental approach in specific situations. Self-awareness then allows us to make the necessary changes to our approach so that we can perform better or improve our psychological well-being.

Connect with Doug Strycharczyk and Dr John Perry

Doug Strycharczyk | LinkedIn

John Perry | LinkedIn

AQR International Website 

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Handouts to compliment this episode:

Understand your Mental Toughness tendencies

To Listen to the Full Podcast Episodes

Ep001: Doug Strycharczyk – The Importance of Mental Toughness

Ep28: Prof Peter Clough – Why is Mental Toughness Important

Ep35: Dr John Perry – Thrive, Don’t Just Survive 2021

Ep050: Doug Strycharczyk, Peter Clough MBE & Dr John Perry – Mental Strength Does Not Guarantee Success 

Ep121: Doug Strycharczyk & Dr John Perry – What Is New? Developments in Mental Toughness Research and Practice


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