Mental Toughness: The One Thing You Must Know
In moments of crisis, there is always danger and opportunity. It might be an economic downturn that has created a climate of fear, or a pressure-filled season where you have got to perform.
In either case, there are people achieving extraordinary success because of the adversity and pressure. How do some people thrive in tough times, when most people struggle?
What I’ve found in my coaching and research of the world’s best performers, is that the biggest obstacle we face is not a lack of talent or resources, or even the situation we’re in. It’s our mind attached to the past that limits us the most.
We set goals and pursue them valiantly, but setbacks arise and doubts come. Most of us have never been taught how to handle the endless stream of thoughts racing through our heads, the whispering voice of doubt, and the emotional ups and downs that life brings.
Do any of these ring true for you?
- You have talents and skills but your intense desire to succeed often leads to tension or anxiety.
- Your mind has a tendency to over-analyze things.
- You’re really hard on yourself when you fail.
- Negative thoughts clutter your mind.
- You feel more restricted than free.
These obstacles do not describe individuals who settle for a life of mediocrity, but rather some of the best performers (athletes, surgeons, Navy Seals, et al) and executives in the world. If any of these describe you, you’re in good company.
As a pro baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization, I was obsessed with being a Major League Superstar. But my intense desire often led to tension and fear of failure. It was so tough trying to get to the perfect balance of intense desire and effort combined with being relaxed and enjoying the moment.
Learning to get into that ideal state, what I call the flow of resonance, where you’re fully engaged, with nothing holding you back, is tough. It’s not like you can just choose to feel a certain way. How you feel is a complex mix of physiology, beliefs, thoughts, desires, and past choices.
You might look at it like this: