I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree and moved to Crested Butte, Colorado to be a ski-bum for one season. Well, the employment opportunities were not in high demand, so I was forced to work construction. I sucked at it. I became the laborer of the group, because I could hardly nail two pieces of wood together.
To this day, I “hate” being bad at anything and can’t accept the fact that I am not good at everything.
2. All or Nothing thinking:
My mentality: win or lose, make the shot or miss it, do a good job or a poor job. This type of stinking thinking has gotten me into trouble. It means the good times are good, but the bad times are bad, and there are few times of being in the middle.
The problem is that when I think this way; I allow no room for making mistakes or learning the lesson. However, since we all are going to lose more often than we will win, a big part of mental toughness is learning how to deal with loss and failure.
Coach John Calipari said once that he can bring the intensity to practice 3 out of 5 days, but he needs his players and other coaches to bring the enthusiasm the other days. I am the same way. One of the things that I teach is the power of attitude and belief, and I still struggle with it. I can sometimes catch myself when driving to negative town, but it is still one place that I hate to go, since it serves little purpose.
4. Tunnel vision:
Everyone’s greatest strength is also his or her greatest weakness. Mine happens to be my obsession with mental toughness, sport psychology, and improvement. If I set a particular goal, I will achieve it, period. However, there is a level of selfishness with this pursuit. For example, I’ve written four books on Mental Toughness, ran 2 marathons, and had a hole-in-one. So, other pursuits in my life have to drop off in order for me to remain steadfast on the people and things that are really important. Although, the tunnel vision is productive in the short-term, balance is better.
5. My unbelief:
There is a verse in the bible, Mark 9:24. It’s the verse I sign all of my books with. It is a man talking to Jesus, who says “lord I believe, help my unbelief.” This sums me up. I believe in my faith and salvation and know that things happen for a reason and that things also work out.
However, when I get stressed or fearful, it means I am not practicing my belief. The most important mental skill is confidence, and faith is all about trust. When I don’t trust it, I don’t believe.
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 Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness