Suppose there were a first contest in toughness and it was called “withstanding” or “wise endurance.” A tough person is someone who withstands or wisely endures certain things. Forgo the puzzling matter of which things should be endured and which should not. (Here see Plato’s Laches.) Simply suppose that this is something that needs to be withstood or endured.
Then consider with me: what enables someone to endure what needs to be endured? Some answers seem question-begging: fortitude! But fortitude seems a bit like saying toughness, and my ear tells me that they are, at least in this case, one and the same. Other non-question-begging starting points: confidence, experience, and hope. Let’s have a look.