mental toughness documentary

Our initial thread of 10 Mental Toughness Documentaries That Will Make You Better has been one of the top of google searches since it was released. 

Granted, Sport Psychology, psychological training, mental strength, coaching, and helping sport parents are our entire existence and purpose in life. 

There isn’t much that we do as a team or family which isn’t directed toward achieving some goal. Hence, any Netflix shows we watch are all in the genre of Sport Psychology

We won’t post a mental toughness documentary checklist that sucks.

Even though these films are not all sport focused, (even though everyone is an athlete), they are centered around greatness and the skills needed to achieve your best. 

No particular order…


Hired Gun- (Netflix) 

A documentary about session and touring musicians that are hired by well established and famous bands.  Kenny Aronoff and Rudy Sarzo both star in this epic film and were both guests on the podcast- 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness.  

These hired guns may not be household names, but are still masters of their craft.

If you’re curious about what it REALLY takes to be great and just how damn talented everyone is, watch this one. 


David Foster: Off The Record- (Netflix) 

I was ignorant the impact that David Foster had on the entire music industry.

No idea… Sixteen Grammys?

Celine Dion, Chicago, Whitney Houston, Michael Buble’, Andrea Bocelli, just to utter off a few names. The list goes on. 

It’s an inside documentary, warts and all, and you’ll witness the sacrifices and the utter obsession toward greatness and perfection. The spoiler: Even at the highest of achievement levels, he still felt “not good enough.” 


In relentless pursuit of his best: The Journey of Ultrarunner Zach Miller- (youtube)

I had the pleasure of having Zach also a guest on my podcast- 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness. Hmmm, I’m seeing a theme…

Zach actually won his very first ultra-marathon, the prestigious JFK50 miler.

It was a huge hinge moment!

This victory propelled his running career into being a professional. Billy Yang produced this film and it follows Zach’s journey, ups & downs, faith, and reveals massive insight into how he operates and his unique approach toward races…


Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching- (HBO max)

These two amazing coaches crossed paths very early in their respective careers. They even coached together at The Cleveland Browns finishing with the Number #1 defense, an 11-5 record, and a playoff win. 

But, I digress.

These two incredible minds met up every off-season and this time it was recorded. If you want insight into coaching, leadership, and what it takes to succeed (and fail), you’ll seriously dig it. 

My favorite quote from this mental toughness documentary- “It’s not about what you want, it’s about what are you willing to do to get it.” 


9/11: Phone Calls from People Trapped in the Towers- (Amazon prime)

When we refer to mental skills, perspective and gratitude may be the most under-appreciated.

We all know where we were when the tragedy took place and to this day, whenever I watch something about September 11th, I still become emotional.

Over 3,000 families lost loved one’s that day, and the twin towers collapse was so forceful that only 300 bodies were ever recovered.

We were only able to watch what took place on the outside. The audio accounts provide details from inside of the towers. 

These intimate stories of people trapped inside of the towers shed light into the choices people made during their last moments. Some people were able to make calls and get through and some merely left voice messages. It gave some families a lasting memory that they held onto and processed and grieved through. 

It also shows the strength and struggle of the first responders who strived valiantly to help others, specifically battalion chief, Orio Palmer. 

It is chilling.


The Man In The Red Bandana- (youtube)

Another impactful September 11th story.  

This is the shortest of the films and perhaps the most poignant.

This mental toughness documentary focuses on hero Welles Crowther, who saved 10 people that day inside of the towers. 

This is the type of person that every parent wishes they would raise. In the most hectic calamity unfolding inside of a person’s life, he was thinking about and saving others…


Untold: Malice At The Palace- (netflix)

I was in Philly the night before running a marathon when I saw the melee. Years later, I spoke with Eddie Gill who was on that Pacers team and how that Hinge moment transformed and wrecked that championship team.

At the time, the media coverage of this episode portrayed the Pacers with just one descriptor: Thugs. And this narrative was echoed across America and throughout history.

This cathartic documentary by Jermaine O’Neal discloses what really happened and uncovers the honest truth.

You’ll gain an entirely different perspective. 


Tiger- (HBO max)

Tiger is a two-part HBO documentary.

It looks at the rise, fall, and comeback of Tiger Woods. This is the best description of Tiger Woods: Tiger didn’t move the needle. Tiger WAS the needle.

I’ve studied many of the greats, and this film provides much insight in which I was unaware. 

It uncovers the obsession and plan that his father Earl Woods had for Tiger. The film focuses on their relationship and upbringing and it is quite revealing.

The fascination for me is how people handle failure, but more importantly how people handle success. 


The Social Dilemma- (Netflix)

The dangerous and real impact of social networking.

Nowadays, it’s simply called social media.

I’m a skeptic, and not much of a conspiracy guy. However, there’s a reason why our society has become so polarized and much of it stems from the different messages that various people receive.

Ever wonder why you receive ads that are just what you needed or at least pique your interest? Or perhaps why on youtube, they have perfect “suggested videos” for you to watch. 

It’s no accident… This Mental Toughness Documentary is chosen because of the addiction and reliance on social networking and specific steps that can help curb it. 


Hamilton- (Disney plus)

Here’s why Hamilton is on this list since it’s obviously not a documentary.  This checklist includes Hamilton because it is the closest thing to perfection that I’ve ever witnessed.

Perfection…

Now, if you do not like history and struggle to appreciate musicals or hip/hop, then you may not consider it as such, but it won’t change this author’s opinion. 


If you want a more detailed list of documentaries and even popular “movies” with some Hollywood added in, then please check out the awesome list compiled by Dr. Sam Forlenza- Sport Psychology in Film Collection (SPFC) or Brian Lomax Inspirational List Of Movies 

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

is mental toughness a skill

Is Mental Toughness A Skill That Is Taught or Caught?


The nature vs. nurture question is referenced almost as much as sports announcers decrying “momentum” or “showing good effort.” 

Ad nauseam.

Let’s try and answer it here.

First, some individuals have faster speed or better looks or higher intelligence, these skills can also be trained and enhanced (doing sprints, speed work, wearing make-up, working out, reading, etc.). Now, it doesn’t mean you’ll look like Denzil Washington or run like Alison Felix, but these skills can still be enhanced. 

The mental skills that one possesses also has innate qualities.

Some of us have a more high-strung, fast paced approach, whereas others can be more type-B and relaxed, quiet, and reserved. 

Either approach toward life can work, because personality tests have shown that there is no one size fits all personality toward success.


See our article how a change in personality won two Super Bowls


However, this only addresses the nature vs. nurture debate, is mental toughness is a skill that can be taught or caught? 

Second, The skills of focus, confidence, motivation, and how to re-focus can indeed be taught. It’s what we do!

However, there is always an impetus for investing in oneself. Thus, is mental toughness a skill that is caught more than taught? 

There is always a hinge moment! One moment, person, decision or event that makes all the difference in our lives! It’s this hinge moment that is sometimes caught. 


Herschel Walker was bullied and beaten as a kid. Then, one day after he was roughed up, he simply said “no more!” And he transformed himself, not into the best football player, but a Superhero! His mental toughness was caught!

Joe Burrow was drafted #1 overall and led his LSU Tigers to a national championship. However, at Ohio State University, he served as a back-up to two different quarterbacks and was forced to transfer. Hinge moment…

Diana Nyad completed the toughest swim ever, 110 miles from Cuba to The United States. Her motivation was a Hinge moment. She hadn’t swam in years, yet on her 60th birthday, she knew deep down her best years were ahead of her. Or one could look at the abuse she encountered as a kid that helped shape her. 


Examine your own life.

  • Was it a coach who told you that you weren’t good enough?
  • Was it the death of a loved one?
  • Could it have been an addiction that you were forced to overcome, or an amount of weight that you knew you needed to lose?

These are all Hinge moments

Is Mental Toughness a skill that can be taught? Indeed…

But, it is caught way more than it is taught!

The lessons of becoming mentally tough are numerous.

Watch enough documentaries, listen to enough podcasts, hang out with coaches, and read about successful people and you will indeed absorb the teachings necessary to assist with the mental game

Nonetheless, we define mental toughness as: how we deal, handle and cope with adversity. 

The more adversity one encounters also increases the chances of failure. However, only through the failure and setbacks and adversity, does it also provide one the fodder they need to comeback. This is why it is caught! 

Mental Toughness is a reserved seat at the table only for those that persevere and come out on the other end.  But, you’ll have to decide: Is mental toughness a skill that is caught or taught. Send us an email with your thoughts…


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

Why Tipping Is So Important

Why Tipping Is Important For America And Our Mental Health 


At a recent Wrigley Field game, close to the 7th inning, a “ice cold water, here” vendor came around our section.

“Hey Garcon, 4 waters please!”

He does his deal with the waters, one by one, and I hand him $25 dollars. It was a tip of $3.

Done!

Except!

He can’t accept cash for the transaction, I need to use a card. 

I hand him my card and it doesn’t work. The machine breaks down on him and won’t run the card. He apologizes, comes back a few minutes later and we do the same dance. It doesn’t work. I try another card again this time. No deal.

I try and hand him the $25 again, but he can’t take it. He leaves and returns again a few minutes later. Success! My card works and what would have taken 15 seconds, literally took 12 minutes to complete. Even though I was a bit annoyed, it wasn’t the vendors fault, it was the faulty machine.

But, here’s the kicker. The irony was I now HAD TO TIP HIM IN CASH!

I mention this, because the vendors were obviously getting messed over with tons of transactions. The number of .50 or $1 tips from persons not wanting any change happen almost every transaction at the ball park, even with the misers in the crowd. Now, by not being able to accept cash, it takes effort for someone to go the extra mile and tip and the “keep the change” guy no longer exists. 

Game day vendors for instance are seasonal workers, and with all games cancelled, they were hit extremely hard during Covid. Currently, they are still receiving the shaft.


I was a server.

I have stories of both benevolent people and those who tipped me $4 on a $160 tab with wine. So, I’ve always tipped well. However, pre-covid days, I would sometimes got annoyed that the kiosk asked me how much I wanted to tip the Panera Bread cashier for handing me a cup so I could fill up my own coffee. 

Currently, there is a more pressing issue why tipping is important.

Research shows over 50% of hospitality works won’t return to their positions.  Accommodation and restaurant workers are at the top of the hiring crisis. We often walk into restaurants that are half or three-quarters capacity not due to restrictions but due to the paucity of staff.

It is what it is…. 

I won’t step out of my lane into the sociology and economical psychology of the work force. I don’t want to pontificate into the why behind the staffing shortages or how to fix it. My expertise simply lies in human performance, mindset, and mental toughness

This is a mental toughness blog about how to be the best at getting better. 

Since isolation and mental health are continuing issues, we can make an immediate impact on our own state and help out others at the same time. 

TIPS- To Insure Proper (prompt) Service. 

We no longer tip to insure proper service.

Most of us even tip about the same regardless of the quality of service, unless it’s really bad or exceptional. We tip because it makes us feel good about ourselves and to satisfy the norms that are in place when we do so.

For instance, if you’re out of state, why tip the individual you’ll never see again? Because society says so and we would feel awful if we didn’t.  The norms get muddied however, because we aren’t always sure “who” to tip? We tip our hairdresser, but not our chiropractor. We tip our waiter, but not the drive through worker. 

Let’s start to adjust the societal norm and the reasoning why tipping is important for America and for our own mental health

People, WE need each other.

But, we are still disconnected and fearful.

We can accurately judge our own society by how we care for others. However, this often means governmental programs, charitable organizations, and/or large movements. I’m referring to the individual actions that each of us can take to improve someone else’s day or current mood. It may not make an impact in their overall quality of life, but it will make a difference in their current reality. 

If your impact doesn’t make a difference, then your absence won’t make a difference.

I first started to tip everyone — Drive-through workers, contactless food pick-up, cashiers, everyone. Since the norms suggest we don’t tip the cashier, it was odd for both parties. Thus, I’ve modified it a bit now.

Hence, I’ve now made it a point to make sure to tip one person everyday a $5 or $10. Sometime it is a few different people, but it’s at least one a day. It’s always accompanied with a “just wanted to thank you.” 

It’s not a power play, it’s a heartfelt thank you! But, as I’ve written many times and in my book, NO ONE Gets There ALONE.

When we create a better us, we create a better you.  

Notice how your own mood and outlook will automatically improve when you start to do something above and beyond for someone else. That’s why tipping is important in today’s culture. We can make a difference in those who are with us and turn a transaction into a transformation. 

And do it in cash…

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

Why Tipping Is Important

 


Can we all agree about Simone Biles? 


Back when I was a sport psychology professor, there was an activity I used to make sure NO ONE could be in the middle. 

It forced students to pick a side and then defend their reasoning. It was an excellent way to broach uncomfortable topics. 

The reason why not being in the middle was needed, is because everyone wanted to be on the fence. 

After watching, reading, devouring, and listening to all of the many comments, critiques, and backdrops about what took place with Simone Biles, I’ve come to a conclusion. 

Can we all agree about Simone Biles? 

I’m also not going to use a clever analogy to try and sway an opinion. 

And so you are aware- I am 100% in the middle! 

First, her legacy, impact, and influence is already solidified. Her impact with sexual abuse survivors, trauma victims, and for athletes and girls of color is unmatched. She is an incredible human being, a tough competitor and representative of the United States. No one can really debate any of this. 

I understand the mental health discourse. 

Also, her decision to step away from the team all-around after a failed vault may have been the right decision for her. I can’t really judge here. The “twisties” she experienced at the most crucial moment was probably indeed very catastrophic. 

Her decision to put her health above competing is also a decision I can’t accurately judge.

So, why am I in the middle?

Whereas I realize the mental health angle and the rush of public support of her, I remain conflicted. 

I have many colleagues in the sport psychology community and mental health world that champion her not competing. There are many claims that it was mentally tough NOT to compete. There were also many that felt her leadership was also to be lauded. 

The reason why I’m in the middle is because whereas I do not blame or criticize her, nor back anyone who said “she quit.” However, I also do not support or endorse the notion that this decision should be championed and celebrated as well. 

It is for me an “it is what it is” situation. 

I have a difficult time promoting her decision as an example to be followed.  It was again her decision to step away from her team at such a crucial juncture in team competition. I just don’t advocate it as the pathway that needs to be exemplified. 

It was the team that was severely impacted, not just her as an individual.

In the last dance documentary, the most difficult part to watch was the situation involving Scottie Pippen. Jordan was not with the team and a final play was called for Toni Kukoc to take the shot. Pippen was so distraught in that moment that he simply didn’t go out with his team for the final play. This was difficult because as a fan of his, I hated to see his actions that severely took away from the team. 

I spoke with several coaches about this situation and they all reported the same feedback. They understood her decision, but also struggled with it because of the team component. They questioned whether this was a precedent. I agree with them that it was a hinge moment. 

The crosswalk from this example into our own lives leaves questions. If a swimmer has severe anxiety, or a pitcher has a panic attack, or a volleyball player loses confidence, does this mean it’s okay to not compete for your team, and that it’s actually better if one does not? If test anxiety actually keeps one from taking the test, how is this progress? 

The world is fraught with difficulties, setbacks, and challenges. The obstacles won’t be removed if we shy away from the exact challenge facing us. 

It is through the help of mental coaches and sport psychologists and clinical psychologists that one learns the skills needed to overcome such performance blocks and clinical mental health issues that we all face. 

Can we agree about Simone Biles decision that it reveals the imperative that athletes, coaches, and parents seek the help of trained professionals before such moments hit. When we know that we are struggling, it is our responsibility to reach out, connect, and have a support network already built up.

Because when your moment hits, it’s too late to prepare, we need to be ready. 

The hierarchy of mental skills that can best be utilized under extreme pressure do not magically occur. They are practiced skills. As it’s seen, even the best in the world, who have been in the exact situation previously, can still face such blocks. 

This is simply why I’m in the middle of the situation and hope we all agree about Simone Biles. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing performances and bravery of Suni Lee, Mykala Skinner, Jade Kerry, Grace McCallum, & Jordan Chiles. They were amazing! These competitors were given an opportunity and all stepped up both as a team and individually.

One more legit question- will their names continue to ring true months and years later, or will it simply be remembered for Simone Biles? 

agree about Simone Biles

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

 

mental health

If You Want To Champion Your Mental Health, Then You Will Puke.


The year of 2020 was one big puke fest. Or if you prefer a colloquialism from the movie “Stand By Me”, a barf-o-rama. 

It even continued into 2021, and the effects were evident.  Mental illness in adults has increased and in fact every age-group has worsened. Youth issues have skyrocketed. Anecdotally speaking, people are more fearful, tense, angry, and short-tempered. 

So, what can be done to reverse this negative mental health trend? 

First, we must puke! 


I’ve known several professional and collegiate athletes who would heave before playing, and it was actually a good thing for them.

During the first inning versus the Texas Rangers, Adrian Houser was pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers.  He unfortunately booted a ball hit directly back to him. Shortly after the error, he doubled over and hurled directly onto the infield. His violent puke caused the athletic trainers to come running and the infielders to surround him. But, once that affair was finished, he rallied!

He pitched six innings, allowed only one run, and struck out 10 batters en route to the win.

Puke & Rally

Most self-help books tout five ways to success or three simple steps to fulfillment. It’s frankly all crap.

Life is hard!

Success is not guaranteed and you are not owed anything. 

If you want to champion your own mental health, then you will puke.

Vomiting is a rite of passage. Vomiting is not fun, but it’s necessary.

It’s our body’s natural response to get rid of nasty toxins. Some of these toxins reside in our own mental make-up. 

Pandemics, business failures, financial hardships, loss of confidence, depression, social anxiety, medical problems, disease, housing issues, failing, litigation, addiction, writer’s block, losses, getting passed over, fired, fear, changing careers, other’s criticism of us, moving cities, embarrassment, stress, death of a loved one, injuries, family troubles, and bad performances are just a small sample of how we all puke.


Fear of these events occurring and experiencing hardships, difficulties, frustrations, break-ups, and breakdowns are sadly what prevent some people from attempting the difficult paths of life. It keeps us devoid of a purpose.

The purpose of life is to have a purpose. 

Because of the difficulty of the journey and the challenges and struggle that await us, many people try to avoid puking. They simply do not sign up for the race or contest, let that business idea fade away, nor enter life. They stand on the sidelines. They play it safe. 

There appears to be no risk, no failure, and no puking involved when on the sidelines.

But nothing can prevent puking. We have all puked. There is no reward for playing it safe in life.

The sideline life simply causes a different kind of suffering, and it’s a slow decay. It becomes just a different kind of struggle and one where mental health issues arise. There are major downsides with no reward, little meaning, excitement, or impact. People become isolated, lack connection in relationships, and become absent of an overall purpose. Negativity, complacency, and depression are some of the evils that infect these people. And let’s admit, it happens to us all from time to time. The key is do we have a purpose?

The purpose of life is to have a purpose.



Life is not a spectator sport! It requires courage.

If you’ve played this video game called life, there will be many levels and reset buttons along the way. No gamer conquers all the levels at once. They take many hours with many setbacks, figuring out what works and what doesn’t in order to advance.

Courage can’t be found underneath your couch. It is not something that is achieved watching TV or on your phone. It has to be encountered in the world.

Courage is an experience. But it is not a one-time event. Courage only results from a series of setbacks and failures.

We will make repeated mistakes, over and over again. We will fail. Only when we continue to move forward, refusing to give up, do we begin to exercise courage and rally.

While we all will puke in some area of life, we will not all rally.

Rallying becomes a choice; it takes mental toughness.

We all have puked, the key is will you rally?

mental health


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

How To get In The Zone In Athletics


How To Get In The Zone In Athletics


The ZONE, Flow, Peak Performance….

Ahhhh. It’s a magical, zen like place where everything goes right, we can’t miss, time stands still, and most importantly, in that moment- we are IN THE MOMENT.

I’ve been in a zone twice in my entire life that I can accurately remember.  T   W   I   C   E ! ! !

1) The first was while living in Philadelphia getting my Masters degree and needing to get a run in late at night. It was 9:30 PM and I ran like Forrest Gump. It felt like there was no ground underneath me, I was moving that fast. It was just 5 miles, but it actually brought me to tears about how good it felt. 

2) A second instance was when I first shot 2 under par for 9-holes. I simply could do no wrong. It was bliss. Although these two instances shed no light to me on how to get in the zone in athletics. More research was needed. 


Then, I was in that place again recently. Only 15 years later….

It was an easy 6-mile training run, but my legs were sore and tired. However, immediately when I began on the trail, it started to pour down rain. I LOVE running in the rain (until my shoes get too heavy). 

This rain fell just like in the movie The Notebook, although, there was no Rachel McAdams present. 

I’m not sure what took place except, this rain cleansed my soul and I was energized, refreshed, and in the moment….

It was wonderful! I was in a zone… for a moment.

My mind often gets in it’s own way because I started thinking “wow, I feel so awesome” I can’t wait to write about this. And that action of thinking about thinking slowly brought me out of that trance like state and while my run was still great, I was no longer immersed and in flow.


How To Get In The Zone in Athletics 


A difficulty is that it is such a transient space, a fleeting moment. It is nirvana, paradise, a utopia in our own mind. It is such much more than just performing well or enjoying it. It transcends

Hopefully, we’ve all been there. Maybe it was a passive experience, like at a concert, a movie, or anytime when we lost track of anything else. 

But, the greatest part is when we are the one’s doing an activity. 

Any creative endeavor can lead itself to being in a zone, Musicians, artists, actors, writers and athletes are all creatives that can get to this place because they are immersed into their own world. These activities BEG us to be here and present. 

However, the recipe for how to get in the zone in athletics is simple

You have to have high skill and a high challenge. If any of these are off, then it won’t happen. You’ll either get anxious or bored.  But, the mental part of a zone experience is that we need to stay in the moment. 


8 Simple Ways To Stay In The Moment 


One huge hinderance…

Sadly, since I’ve been in that place 2 1/2 times, I can certainly share what prevents us from how to get into a zone in athletics. 

Each of our chosen activities and challenge brings forth a host of distractions. There is no greater obstacle in which we all succumb to the dreadful EXPECTATIONS. 

Today’s expectations turn into tomorrow’s resentments. 

Unfortunately, we already have a preconceived idea about how our performance is supposed to go and that alone is enough to keep us from the moment. 

  • An expectation about a time we are supposed to achieve.

  • An expectation about our score. 

  • A comparison with other people performing. 

  • Thinking about what others think about us. 

  • A mistake or mess-up.

  • Any thoughts about results or outcome.

  • High stress level or being anxious about the unknown heading into a performance.

A costly drawback is simply any expectation that we have about ourselves or situation. It causes us to get stuck inside of our own head and not fully immersed into our activity. 

A harder attempt on how to get in the zone in athletics will often result in a futile search for the holy grail.

It will leave you frustrated, confused, and dumbfounded.

A simpler approach is staying in an actual moment and practicing it. We play like we train! Although it’s a magical place to be, a far tougher challenge is being able to gut, grind and find a way to comeback when we do not have it that day. 

That’s true mental toughness

Or just wait for it to rain and allow it to wash away any expectations. 

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

How To get In The Zone In Athletics

 

 

 


The Three Types Of An Active Listener


If I’m uncomfortable or interviewing someone, I’ll employ this motto- Listen and learn rather than talk and tell.

One of my podcast guests, Dave Meltzer eloquently calls it to be more interestED than interestING

Curiosity is a super power.

He predicts curiosity and creativity will be the great separator amongst people because of the information that we already have at our fingertips. Creativity and curiosity…

Dave Meltzer was worth 100 million dollars and was living it up. He had access to everything and was living in excess. 

But, he had a hinge moment.

He lost it all.

And like many of us, his worst moment ended up becoming his best! He chalked it up to a major dummy tax where he was with the wrong people, making the wrong decisions, and being in the wrong situations.

People, places, and things…

His interview on my podcast- 15 minutes of mental toughness was full of knowledge, wisdom, and epic sound bites. But, one of the best parts was his take on the three types of an active listener in society.


1. The Interrupter

This is the person who can’t help themselves. They are actively listening to when to interrupt! 

They just interrupt you from the story to either one up you, or interrupt the anecdote and interject what they did or what you should do. I listen to some podcast hosts who love to hear themselves speak so much that they continually interrupt to interject. It’s annoying…

These also seem to be the classic, “you know what you need to do” people. They are the one’s who always know what’s best for you…

When we are the interrupter, it’s impossible to be an active listener. As a remedy, we simply need to allow the speaker space to navigate and finish.


2. The Waiter-

Waiters in restaurants take your order, and frankly I love the one’s who memorize their tables. They also never sell their guests food either when delivering. They know where it’s going and don’t yell out     “Okay, who had the clams casino?” 

However, the waiter in real life are much more dangerous and strategic than the interrupter. They are also more polite.

But, these are the one’s who are simply waiting to speak and “tell you what’s best for you.” 


3. The Learner-

These are the individuals who practice listen and learn rather talk and tell.

These people are seeking the light, love and lessons out of everything and everyone. What keeps us from this state of being is our ego. When I struggle with listening, I’m wanting so bad to get it and share my experience.

My ego wants to shine.

Being able to put it aside and focus on being an active listener is the challenge. 

active listener


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

at big picture


Get At Big Picture Goals By Simply Doing This One Thing


During a marathon, there are ups & downs. I do not think life is like a marathon however, I believe it’s much more arduous and resembles a 100-mile trail run. 

Completing marathons used to be my goal, but now, they are just training runs. The limits we set on how great we can be, how much money we can make, or how many people we can impact are truly inside of the limits we place upon ourselves. Once we reach a summit in our lives, there becomes another to reach. 

The marathon of 26.2 miles is indeed still a great accomplishment. I had a coach call me up recently because their colleague had signed up for the 26.2 mile race, yet the furthest she ran up to that point was 10 miles. And the race was in three days!!

They called the correct person!! Because even though, I don’t recommend it, I have finished a 1/2 ironman with no bike and less than 10 days of training. 

My advice after listening to her passion and “why” behind this endeavor was simple…. It’s the ONE THING we need to do when striving for audacious achievements.

Keep the picture small. We get at big picture goals by keeping it small. 

Too often, it’s the big picture thinking and goals, and aspirations that actually get in our way… The picture becomes way too big.

We start to think about where we currently are and where we want to be, and that the gap almost instantaneously seems much larger and longer. When we come to terms with how far we must go, then a defeatist mindset can easily creep in. 

It is a difficult mindset to get away from because of the years of echoes etched inside our mind. “Keep the big picture in mind”  blah, blah, blah. 

It’s natural to focus on the result, the product, and the outcome. The issue with that thinking is it takes us immediately away from the process and the task at hand! 

Getting at big picture goals is only achieved by keeping the picture small. 

My advice to this marathon warrior was this: JUST THIS MILE.

Focus only on this mile, and when your mind drifts to how much further you have to go, hit the rest button and refocus.  I also have to remember this on the daily and especially during my own races

The reality is that mile 14 or 15 may indeed be awful and suck. There’s no denying that. 

But, just because mile 14 or 15 is poor, DOES NOT mean that mile 18 or 20 will be the same way! The flip side of the reality coin is we all have a second wind in life! And we will hit it, IF we stay focused on the short-term, the task at hand, this shot, this step, this breath, and just this moment. 

Besides…

Yesterday ended last night…

Merely because Monday was awful, or February was poor, or we lost last week, or got beat, literally has no bearing on this moment, this event, or situation.  That’s the truth! Setbacks can have an influence on our belief patterns and mindset moving forward, but it still has no vote toward any future successes (unless we let it). 

What is so troubling about setbacks is that we allow it to get at big picture goals, by taking that difficult period and making it larger than what it really is…. 

Our beliefs can become “If February was this bad, then how can this month possibly be better” or “If I can’t win here, how can I possibly win next week” or “If I’m not successful at this level, then how can I reach my goals.” and so on and so on. 

After we have our vision , it doesn’t do us much good to keep looking at them.

Goals are like the sun, we can’t stare at them. 

Staying in the moment allows us to rally and perform our best when it matters the most. KEEP THE PICTURE SMALL!

at big picture


 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

 

best happiness status

 


4 Ways To Increase Your Best Happiness Status


Regression to the mean is a simple concept.

If a variable exists that is outside of the mean, it is an outlier, and then the subsequent point or variable will be eventually be closer to the mean. 

There is a baseline level in every area of our lives. If we shoot a really good score of golf, chances favor that the next round will be closer to our average (mean) or base game.  If we are mentally tough and have an off day, or week, or month, then we will also return back to the mean. 

Our best happiness status is the same, we all return the mean.

In my podcast episode with Barry Zito. Here was a MLB pitcher, who won a CY Young and signed a $126 million dollar contract, but was miserable.  He lived in the Hollywood Hills mansion, had the massive 450 gallon fish-tank, $150,000 sound system, and the new Bentley. But, he was miserable, so I asked him to elaborate. 

He said “It’s like when you get a new pair of shoes.” You are all excited and geeked out and can’t wait to run in them.  (I got that reference!)

He said, “that feeling, wears off.” 

 It doesn’t matter how great the achievement, how big the bankroll, or size of the trophy.

We all return to our baseline. Our best happiness status is simply that, a snapshot, a level, a state.  

For instance, after the event, we’ll return to the mean, whatever our level of happiness was before the thing or achievement or payday. 

Since we return to our own mean, we’ll simply need to raise our overall baseline level of happiness.  Once we can get to the state of  “I AM”  happy, or we will continue to chase it. 

And we can’t “get to happiness” with things, stuff, accomplishments, or status. 


1) Relationships

  • We can only increase our overall baseline through the quality of our relationships and the impact we make on other people’s lives. The stronger our relationships, the higher or overall baseline level of happiness. 

Relationships either get deeper or they die. 


2) Gratitude

  • Gratitude is memory of the heart.

Yet, we take almost everything for granted. The water we drink, the bed we lay in, the ability to walk or even run.  An attitude of gratitude is a myth. 

Gratitude is a muscle and unless we take certain actions of gratitude, this muscle can atrophy. Gratitude exponentially increases our best happiness status. If our base level of happiness is one from scarcity (not enough), then it’s almost impossible to raise our level. We have to develop and nurture our abundance mentality. 


3) Process over product

  • Brett Favre won the Super Bowl Trophy in 1996. A very emotional player, it’s the ultimate in any footballer’s journey. So, here he reached the top of the mountain! And yet, he thought “Is that it?” He felt this, because he didn’t want for it to be over! 

Those who prep and prepare and actually climb Mount Everest take many months to do so. And yet, they are only at the top of Mount Everest for a few minutes. 

When we finished our basement. It was wonderful. But, as we enjoyed it and looked back, an interesting thing popped up. We actually enjoyed picking the colors, painting the walls, having our kids paint, choosing the carpet, and furnishing it and decorating it.

It was the process of it all that was so exciting! But, we often don’t appreciate the process until the product was over. 

PUKE & RALLY is all about that the process is more important than the product! 


4) Suffer

  • We are physically comfortable in life.  Nothing wrong with comfort, but because we are physically comfortable, it does not mean we are mentally comfortable. The human spirit is more pleased with growth rather than comfort. And unless we have adversity in our lives, then we can’t grow. 

If things are easy, and there is no challenge, then there can’t be much joy in “it.” The harder we work for something, the more we enjoy it! 

The people who were given the real gift in life are those who have suffered and made it through. How are you creating these moments of suffering? 

1.  Relationships

2. Gratitude

3. Process over Product

4. Suffer 

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly. 

best happiness status

stop unhealthy comparisons


3 Ways To Stop Unhealthy Comparisons


Most of what I read is about how to stop comparing yourself to others.

The “comparison is the thief of joy” stuff.  It makes perfect sense. Even in my first book, Mental Toughness Training for Golf:, I extensively wrote that one common way to lose confidence is to compare yourself to others.

 I was wrong.


It’s our natural tendency to compare ourselves, in fact, since the age of about six years old, we started doing it all the time.  

We are in a constant state of evaluating to those around us in all areas of life. 

This type of beauty contest comparison is what causes internal strife because we often end up in a state of “I’m not good enough.” The media and advertising world pray on all of us by comparison. It’s unavoidable. 

No matter how good we get, there is always someone better. Even if we are the best, it’s not for very long. It’s the mountaintop fallacy. 

I previously subscribed to the belief that we should ONLY focus on getting better and comparing ourselves to our own level of improvement. I still believe this, but, there are healthy comparisons that we are we missing! I mean if we are the average wealth of our five closest friends, isn’t that dependent upon comparison?

Mental Toughness is NOT ALL OR NOTHING THINKING. 

We need to recognize and stop unhealthy comparisons and simply find more productive ways to do it. 


Unhealthy Comparison #1- We focus on the differences

“We judge others using their highlight reel, while we judge ourselves by what happens backstage.”

We regularly find the differences between others, our competitors, about why they are better than us. Or, we find differences about why we are superior.

Both of these are why we need to stop unhealthy comparisons because they put us in a position of inferiority or superiority. We are relying on our comparison to feel confident about ourselves.

The healthy alternative is noticing and focusing on the similarities between others puts us in a state of equality and forces us to pay attention to what we can control. Besides this comparison becomes an excellent way to build our confidence! 


 Unhealthy Comparison #2- We become envious

“We need to focus on our ‘why’ and others ‘how’.”

We find someone who is better than us or has something we desire and we get envious.

We think how awesome it would be for us to have that talent, status, or car. 

We may even ponder “why” they deserve it. We need to stop unhealthy comparisons because it puts us in a state of negativity and reinforces the belief that we are not good enough

Instead, the healthy way is to replace the envy, and use that individual again as a model.

Focus on “how and “what” they did to achieve that goal and how we can do the same.


Unhealthy Comparison #3- We notice only people better than us

The way that we improve is to use these models of people who are better than us, find out their how, and use it ourselves. But, we need to focus on people worse off as well. 

In the interviews for my 2nd book, The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness, I came across people who had lost a child.  It is the most difficult thing any parent or person can probably experience.

I interviewed different parents who lost a child at birth, 2 months, 2 years old, and 20 years old. Each of these circumstances were different and painful, but it put into perspective that no matter how bad we have it, someone has it worse. My interviews with these strong people revealed that the manner in which a child was lost had a major impact on the grieving process. 

The pandemic put a lot into perspective for us. If we adjust our lens the correct way, then we can see the benefits and the good. When we focus on the things we are grateful for, it develops an action of gratitude.

Once we begin to count our blessings, it gets tough to stop.

 


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes and is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included three winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

Please Check out all the books and the mental toughness podcast - 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment. New blog posts are published weekly.