Almost All Success Begins By First Developing Mental Toughness!
The first step toward creating real, positive, impacting change must start with disciplining our thought lives. Many of us have learned the hard way the damage that can be done by giving negative thoughts a place in our minds. I recently heard the story of a very healthy man who was scheduled for a routine prostate operation at a local hospital.
After surgery, he was rolled on a stretcher into the wrong room, and the doctor consequently came in with the wrong file for this man. The doctor began in no uncertain terms to tell this man that, while performing his surgery, they had found a serious heart condition, as well as cancer. The man went home in shock, and died that evening of heart failure. Most athletes have learned the debilitating power of worry first hand. It quickly fosters a lack of confidence that can sabotage the best intentions and greatest talents. Worry is undisciplined thinking that harms our ambitions and our lives.
Developing Our Mental Toughness Muscle
One day when I was an NHL player after practice I asked Peter Twist, the well-respected strength and conditioning coach of the Vancouver Canucks, “Just how does a muscle grow bigger and stronger?” He explained that you must bring the muscle to a position of exhaustion and then, when you believe in your heart that you have nothing left to give, take it just a little farther. As a result, microfibers tear in the muscle, and with rest, grow back bigger and stronger. Year after year, we see the same people in the same condition because they exercise just enough to maintain their present shape. They do not take their training to the edge.
Developing mental toughness is similar. We must make a conscious decision to spend focused energy exhausting the mental muscles that we want to see grow, strengthen and improve.
Some claim that they lack the personality to be mentally tough. Unfortunately, most people have the mistaken idea that mental toughness must be present from birth. While it may be true that some of us grow larger muscles more easily than others, each of us can substantially improve our muscle mass through recognition, desire, and effort. Developing mental toughness has the same growth curve. We must recognize our need, want to improve, and focus our efforts towards the desired result.
Once we recognize the need to begin the battle for our minds, we can then welcome the positive, and consciously discard any destructive thoughts. We have taken the first step towards developing the mental toughness that we need to help us compete.
Developing correct habits of thought is probably the precursor to most success. Og Mandino said, “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded, lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure.” Substantial CHANGE in our attitudes and actions will happen as we choose to develop good habits of thought.
According to James Allen, “You are today, where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow, where your thoughts take you.”
Golf legend Bobby Jones put it this way: “Every game of golf is played on a six-and-a-half inch course… the distance between your ears.”
Dr. Seymore Epstein, Chair of the Psychology Department of the University of Massachusetts, confirmed these statements in his study of 50 super achievers. Over ten years, he found nine basic similarities in the way these “super achievers” chose to think. Over the next blogs we will share Epstein’s 9 findings about successful people.
Looking forward to sharing this Mental Toughness journey with you soon!