I was told early on in life to use “I” statements. I was also instructed to use feeling words like frustrated, upset, and agitated. Yep, those seem accurate descriptors when I am pissed. The key is to train and remember this linguistic skill during stressful times especially when having arguments (growth moments) with my wife.

However, I was never properly instructed on how I should talk to myself.

We rarely talk negative to ourselves when we are thriving and doing well; frankly that’s not mental toughness! When we are on track, we can basically say anything to ourselves that will help us focus.

Mental Toughness however occurs when we are struggling, when things are not going well. The inner chatter, inner voice, and dialogue that we have can take a dramatically different tone.

We are also poor at diagnosing our own self-talk. So, check this out and let me know if you agree.

YOU idiot, YOU suck today, YOU should know better…You, You, You…

These dominate the negative thoughts. I think the YOU statements occupy about 80% of the negativity.

The YOU voice can also ask rhetorical, outcome-based questions. “Are you sure you should be here?” ” You think that is correct?” “Suppose you fail?”

It doesn’t mean we don’t use negative I statements, but if we had a negative parent, or a negative coach, chances are, the YOU negativity, are the statements we will hear. I’ve even heard pro’s at the end of a season just berate themselves, and say things like “you’ve never had it.” Who told him that?

When we hear that inner voice utter YOU, it’s a red flag. The YOU voice is accusatory, its judgmental, and it saps our confidence and focus. It is the same reason why we don’t use it in discussions with our spouse.

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

NO FEAR
I have a brand new project coming out. It is an 18-minute film and E-book titled: NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness. You can sign-up for the pre-release here….

I was a University professor for 5 years and I would announce to every class on the first day, all that they had to do to graduate college. It was simple…Show up…every day. If they showed up every day, they would almost guarantee themselves a grade of a C, even if they did nothing else. Now, just graduating with a C average probably wasn’t the goal for most, but the point is valid.

Never miss a class… If they are present everyday, then they are taking certain steps to ensure they learn. They force themselves to act as if. They act as a person who graduates does. That’s it. And in doing so, they also ignite specific beliefs. They take ownership and responsibility and as a result of showing up every day, they develop habits.

First we form habits, and then they form us.

Once habits are formed, then beliefs are shaped and we start to conform to our beliefs. The beliefs don’t have to even be deep rooted or existential questions, like does God exist? The beliefs merely form our reason for doing what we do. It becomes our “why.”

When we develop our why, we can come up with any how.

Wait, doesn’t that go contrary to acting as if, and shouldn’t we come up with a vision statement before moving forward?

Neither mental skill is mutually exclusive. Our actions and beliefs work hand in hand. You can’t act as if without having some kindle of a why, a justification, and a belief. Just as once you really discover your why, your purpose, and no longer act as if.

So, when we show up every day, we are in place to get better. We can’t help to learn something and improve in some small way, every day.

When I get in debates about unbreakable baseball records, the one’s that will never fall are those that demonstrated and rewarded perseverance & longevity. One of these records was Cal Ripken, The Ironman. He played seventeen consecutive seasons without missing one single game. He played in 2,632 consecutive games. When Derek Jeter asked Cal Ripken the secret of playing every day, Cal replied, “ You know Derek, I Just…I just play.”

There is no secret….

Now, how many times do you think Cal Ripken was battling a slump, injured, was sick, or had an off the field issue? None of it deterred him from just showing up. What I knew is that when I went to watch the Orioles, Cal Ripken would be playing. #NEVERGIVEUP

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness 

If you ever listen to a creaky door or gate, it’s not the door or gate at all. It’s the Hinge! So ,what happens when the Hinge becomes Rusty? Chances are that we got away from what got us here, our focus and confidence changed. The Hinge connected, but we let it get rusty…

Here is a 3-minute video on how to prevent the Hinge from getting Rusty! 

The Rusty Hinge

Click here to subscribe to my Friday Mental Toughness newsletter…

The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact drrobbell@drrobbell.com

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness