Best Time To Visit Pro Football Hall Of Fame Are You Mentally Tough?

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Are You Mentally Tough?

“Mental toughness is critical to success.”

– Vince Lombardi

Last spring, San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary brought a new kind (and a new level) of pain to his team’s training camp. Known simply as “the hill,” it’s a 45-degree incline he made for jogging. Singletary first witnessed the use of the running mound during his time as a Hall of Fame middle infielder with the Chicago Bears in the 1980s. While it obviously increased players’ endurance, its primary benefit was a significant increase in players’ stamina and endurance. Walter Payton, Singletary’s teammate in the 1980s and the Bears’ rushing record, believed that hill running helped players overcome mental obstacles that stood in the way of success. Many people still believe that the 1985 Bears were the best NFL team in history. Almost all the so-called “experts” still believe they were the toughest.

Dave Goggins is a Navy SEAL living in Chula Vista, California. He entered the Navy as a 240-pounder. SEAL training began his journey to holistic fitness. He then began running marathons, ultra-marathons and (later) competing in triathlons. He also completed the Ultraman, a mega-triathlon that includes a grueling combination of a 6.2-mile ocean swim, a 261-mile bike ride, and a 52.4-mile run. Dave is doing this ostensibly to raise money for the Special Warriors Foundation. People who know him insist that if SOWF hadn’t existed, he would have found another reason to compete. Dave believes that with focus and discipline, anyone can accomplish anything. “I want to see if there are limits to the human soul,” says Goggins. His motto is “do not weaken”. He imagines success before taking on any major challenge, adding: “I remember when I was young, when things were really hard or difficult, they could be so hard that they made you want to quit. It’s a feeling I’ve never had again.” Dave is one of the toughest guys walking the earth.

Lance Armstrong competes in a sport known as the “main event” (Tour de France), which is equivalent to running a marathon on steep hills every day for three weeks. His workout routine is ridiculous! After taking a few years off (and I use that term VERY loosely) to focus on his charity work, he returned to the Tour in 2009. When he races, Lance is a silent killer. This comment from someone who knows him really well sums up his approach to competition: “The way to plant a seed of doubt in the other guy’s mind is to keep his mouth shut. Lance is good – then he’ll drill you!”

Lance believes in showing mental toughness by breaking through break points. When others are ready to give up, he overdoes it.

Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy and two NCAA football championships as the University of Florida Gators quarterback. He is widely regarded as the greatest leader in the history of intercollegiate football. Yes, there is more to Tim than football. Through the first semester of his senior year, he has a 3.6 grade point average. He does missionary work during his summer “off”. In 2009, he completed 700 hours of community service. He is also the epitome of humility. Some college football fans don’t like him…calling him (derogatory) “Mr. Perfect.” Most of them are people who like the gun stars of the NBA. Think!

These guys were from different backgrounds and they all have their own lives. Each of them believes that he is responsible for his actions and will answer for his results. Everyone accepts that practice does not, in fact, make perfect – PERFECT practice makes perfect! This goes beyond physical fitness to mental fitness and developing mental toughness. Their zeal to prepare for victory does not tell the whole story. The truth is, a lot of mental toughness isn’t about preparing to win; it’s about learning how to lose and learning how not to lose. To wit:

Tom Veneziano wrote the book “The Truth About Winning”. Tom is a tennis player from Texas. He wrote his book to help tennis players win. Tom talks about cultivating the right attitude to loss. According to his belief, until a person does not form a correct view on loss and mistakes, he cannot sustain success. This perspective includes accepting loss (NOT giving up on losing – more on the difference later), staying “in the moment”, letting go of defeat as you learn from it, cultivating wisdom and moving on to fight again.

To maintain success in life—whatever your personal definition—you must also develop mental toughness. Some recommendations follow:

o You must learn to distinguish between your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and facts in any situation. We all have baggage from our past, especially from our childhood. The lessons our early caregivers taught us accumulate at a very young age to create each of our unique worldviews. Some of them serve us well; some don’t. Most people take this concept abstractly or easily see its implications in other people but never test the exact effects on them.

o Take 100% responsibility for everything in your life. This does not mean fierce independence or not asking for help. This means that victimization and blaming will have bad consequences. At one time or another, each of us has been victimized by forces beyond our control. However, there is a big difference between being a victim and being a victim. Try to look yourself in the mirror every morning and say these words: “I own my life. I am the problem and I am the solution!”

o Control your self-talk, especially after a loss. We all have a constant internal dialogue. What does your hair say about how you value yourself? How is your internal dialogue positioning you for future success?

o Learn to accept your flaws without giving in to them (this is really hard for me). Acceptance means “surrender to reality”. Resignation means “giving up an opportunity”. There is a big difference; this is not hair.

o Ask yourself (and give examples) how skilled and consistent you are in demonstrating the following character traits:

o Openness and openness – with yourself as well as others

o Commitment to “truth”

o Courage

o Resistance

o Patience

o stability

o Patience

o Discipline

o Responsibility


Get a coach or mentor in 2010 to help you cultivate mental toughness in 2010 and make it your best year yet!

Copyright 2010 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

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