when I get depressed

when I get depressed

When I get DEPRESSED is NOT in this picture. 

I’m probably more alive than any other time in life. This picture is just moments before diving in the Chesapeake Bay for the beginning of the Ironman.

There is something special about the beginning of races and events that bring forth every emotion, almost simultaneously.  Excitement, self-assuredness, focused, quiet, hopeful and grateful. And yes, it also opens up feelings and thoughts of anxiousness, self-doubt, vulnerable, and concerned.

All of the emotions we can feel and think come rushing in. That’s the best part of being “IN” life. If we remain on the sidelines, afraid to take risks and get in the game, then we’ll never experience LIFE. That’s the point of being IN the arena and not in the stands as a spectator. We can’t have all of the good feelings and thoughts without the bad, it doesn’t work that way.

You simply can’t grow a garden and not have any weeds. 

When I get depressed is not in this photo. In fact, It’s the opposite. But after all of the training, the excitement, the rewards, and the afterglow of the successful events and accomplishments, I’ll go through withdrawal. 

I want to live and stay on the mountaintop of feeling good ALL THE TIME. The only issue is that it’s not reality. Not much grows up on the mountaintop, we have to climb back down to the valley, where the green grass grows. That’s unfortunately when I get depressed. 

And so…

My withdrawal does not result in paralysis, but more of an insatiable search for the “next one” and “now what.”

My ego and identity are so wrapped up in what I do, that it takes a major disconnect and reboot for my emotions to catch up.  That’s the plague of determination and perseverance, you can’t completely shut it off. So, being left stuck inside of your own head and on a never-ending quest, it creates an endless loop of feelings. That’s why the process is more important than the product. It is just my hope that every experience and event can provide deeper insight into how to deal, cope, and handle the successes and mountaintop experiences. 

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

How I changed my life from being a loser

How I changed my life from being a loser

How I Changed My Life From Being A Loser

Now, I wasn’t always a loser. It was a slow fade across many years.

My childhood was full of athletics, family, academics, friends, and more athletics. But along the way, something changed.

Maybe it was pain from parents divorcing and my family splitting up, or anger from no longer being the best at sports because I failed to work hard. Or maybe it was resentment from a changing of coaches who cared to those who didn’t.

Not sure…

What I do know is that I was intent on being with the in-crowd. I slowly became a loser when I started high-school and started partying, and that meant drinking!

Road parties, house parties, or just riding around, it all involved drinking. And in a town known for its liquor stores, drinking meant hard drinkingI wanted to have a good time and hang with those who did the same. That was it.

One doesn’t become a loser overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it wasn’t destroyed in a day either…

Once I reached the end of my junior season of high-school, Pot was introduced to my life. I never wanted it before, but soon, I couldn’t get enough of it. It actually became my drug of choice.

The night before my senior year of soccer, I was arrested.

I was partying with friends just two days before the first game and was arrested for possession of marijuana. I was promptly kicked off of the team. It was devastating.

That was a participation trophy toward becoming a loser.

In my small town where everyone waves to everyone, I was no longer waved to. I was now pointed at. I made a mistake, but I wasn’t bad. That hurt, more pain…

I was scared straight and worked really hard for my upcoming baseball season. Weights, training, hitting, being a leader, I was ready.

Then another bombshell.

A few hours before the home opener, during the last period of the day, with my freakin’ baseball uniform already on, I was called to the principal’s office. A sheriff awaited in the office and the principal proceeded to ask me about incidents in the weight room and a broken piece of plexiglass. Unbeknownst to me, a $600 scale and another high priced piece of equipment had been recently damaged in the weight room.

I explained what happened, earlier that week, I was on a dip machine during weight class and it accidentally rocked back and smacked and broke a piece of plexiglass. But, since I was cool, I then rocked it back on purpose and broke it some more. That was it.

I was ordered to pay $12. But I was immediately suspended for 5 school days.

I cried.

The dismissal bell rang for the school and I’ll never forget that feeling of being in my uniform, starting shortstop, the first game of my senior year, and getting escorted to my car and driving home. I wasn’t allowed to even tell the coach what happened or talk to the team. I vaguely remember sitting alone in my kitchen as my dad came home and remember how disappointed he was.

I missed four games! That hurt, more pain.

As I returned to the team, I was so angry, that I took it onto the field with me. I tried to get those missed games back and it was life or death on every game and every at-bat. I put so much pressure on myself that I crumbled throughout the year. “Underachieved” would put it kindly.

More pain…

Drinking is the cause and solution to all of life’s problems. I returned to that coping mechanism after the season ended and self-medicated.

Now, I felt at that time, I had received my diploma in being a loser.

I went to college an A+ student in partying. The solution to all of life’s problems.

It was a month into college and I was trying to walk-on in baseball, when at about 2 am one evening I walked off an 80-foot cliff. Most people fall off a cliff, I walked off. Not on purpose, but because we were partying near a cliff!

Drinking was now the cause of the problems. Medics had to crane me up out of the crevasse, where I had split open my head, fractured my back, and broken my arm. But, I was alive!

This accident happened on a Friday and I was back to school on Monday. See, my mom is the oldest of eight, Catholic family, she had zero sympathy. She sent me right back to school, where I was now in immense physical and emotional pain. Try walking around college being pointed at because you were now “that guy who fell off of the cliff!” Baseball was simply no longer.

I considered this winning national championship in losing.

And when you lose, my belief used to be “you’re a loser.” So, I again acquiesced to the solution to life’s problems. I drank…

On April 20th, my second semester in college, I was driving back to school after drinking all day during an earth day festival. (It’s interesting how well we remember small details from events that become so significant in our lives.) I can recall the whole day and especially the drive, because…

I distinctly recollect my car crossing the center line and striking an oncoming van. I was airlifted to Maryland hospital; I had struck the windshield and fractured my face and broken my collarbone.

Months later, I went to have the wires pulled from my mouth because of my broken jaw. The doctor untwisted and pulled out the wires with no local injection mind you, but my gums had grown over the wires and blood gushed over every extraction, and it was excruciating!

I mention this because that still didn’t hurt as bad as messing up and apologizing and begging and pleading to the elderly woman whose van I had struck. It was like I was talking with my own grandmother. (Her husband didn’t talk to me (I don’t blame him))It was a miracle that they were not hurt. It was a miracle I wasn’t killed or even hurt worse.

More pain…

It took 2×4 moments for me to “get it.” A smack over the head with a 2×4.

There is nothing more dangerous and selfish and stupid than driving while intoxicated. I didn’t care at the time about hurting myself, but I NEVER meant to hurt anyone else, so I’m not making light of this situation when I state that…

Drunk driving was winning an Olympic medal in becoming a loser.

How I Changed My Life From Being a Loser

One small victory came from that even though I had all of this going on during my freshman year, I still finished all of my classes, I never, ever dropped a class.

I never gave up.

I graduated with my undergraduate degree and I was so blessed to be able to discover sport psychology. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, programs are competitive, so when I was accepted into Temple University with a graduate assistantship, I knew I was given a second chance at life and I wasn’t going to blow it.

I now had a vision and better discipline.

Being “all-in” is a cliche’ and a good tee-shirt saying, thrown around too often life. So, being “all-in” for me meant discipline. I read most of the class textbook and three complimentary sport psychology books before graduate school even began. I sat in the front of the class, read journal articles, went to conferences, and never missed one day. 

I got into the best shape of my life (at the time), working out, and running every day. I trained and competed in the Philadelphia marathon.

9/11 happened while I was getting my masters degree and Temple University never closed; I had a night class, so I went. The teacher and two other students showed up. I think they were “all-in” as well.
I also worked during grad school and rode my bike home in North Philadelphia to the Art Museum at 9 or 10 pm every weeknight. I taught golf, so I would also have my clubs on my back as I rode down the city streets.

Can you picture that? I didn’t care one bit.

When podcasts ask about my greatest accomplishment, besides being a father, it was finishing my thesis.

I showed up to graduate school sucking at writing. I mean, awful. It took me an entire year to do an original research study and write a thesis. My thesis was hundreds of pages and every single line and space had to be PERFECT!

My professor, Dr. Sachs, probably did a hundred of revisions. Even after it was complete, it was never complete, there was always another change here and there… The joke was, there are so many revisions to my thesis, that after it was done, it probably went full circle and was back to the original draft.
Discipline and having a vision was how I changed my life from being a loser.

I started working with golfers on the mental game while at Temple University. I was accepted and received an assistantship to The University of Tennessee where I earned my PhD in Sport Psychology. I soon started working with professional golfers on the mental game and my professional career was launched.

I no longer drink and have been in recovery for years. I’m a husband and father of two. I’ve finished an ultra-marathon and completed an Ironman, I’ve written six books on mental toughness (so far), and have worked with Olympic medalists and champions on the PGA Tour. I’ve spoken at the NFL combine, Fortune 500 companies, and universities across the United States.

I’ve been the mental coach at University of Notre Dame and Indy Eleven and have caddied on tour. I’ve focused on coaching executives and the podcast- 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness podcast has taken off.

But, here is the most important factor for my life from being a loser.


Check out this podcast episode from Coach Matt Deggs and hear his awesome story of redemption.

I was blessed and redeemed. It doesn’t take someone from Mensa to understand that I should have died twice.  It was out of my control.

Those worst days actually became my best, because I developed the gift of perspective and gratitude. I experienced the pit of despair and disappointment. I never wanted to return. So, I knew whatever struggles I had, it wasn’t as bad as it had been. It allowed me to appreciate every single thing that I took for granted.

The pain of discipline never weighs more than the pain of regret.

I don’t know why God spared me. Yes, I believe wholeheartedly that God protected me from death. There was guilt from it as well, because I don’t know “why” good people, much better than myself suffered, while I was given other chances.

I’m not writing that whereas I was blessed, others were not. I don’t believe that. What I do know that in this circumstance, there is no answer to the question “why.”

God’s redemption is the gift to us, what we do with it is our gift in return.

I only know that after winning at becoming a loser, there was a better way. I wasn’t going to waste another opportunity to live life to the fullest. If you’re ever given a second chance at life, you have to go all the way.

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

dr rob Bell Quote

If you want a free download of Quotes, then click here for The BEST Mental Toughness Quotes That Will Make You BETTER…  

If you’ve followed my writings or me for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m a quotes honk.

My belief is that motivation is like brushing our teeth. We need to do it every day! We need to marinate our mind with positivity, truth, and the purpose of focusing on others! 

I put together a post of the best visual quotes that you can share. I elaborated a bit on why I chose these 12 mental toughness quotes as well. Feel free to post any of the images as well. 

Top 12 (Visual) Mental Toughness Quotes For Success

mental toughness quotes
If winning was easy, everybody would do it. The best golfer in the world shares how hard it really is to win at any level of competition. 

People don't realize how often you have to come in second in order to finish first. 

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quotes of mental toughness
When you win or have success, your phone blows up. But, When you fail or are fired, only then do you realize who truly cares about you. 

Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan. 

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visual mental toughness quotes
Self-explanatory... It's the will to do the small details...

The will to prepare has to be greater than the will to win. 

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coaching quotes
We have NO idea the impact of our actions or how we make a difference in others lives. That's the importance of NO ONE gets There ALONE.

We can count the number of seeds in an apple, but we can't count the number of apples in one seed. 

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mental toughness quotes for athletes
Mental Toughness quote from the most impactful athlete ever...

The goal is to be physically loose and mentally tight

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visual mental toughness quotes
Frankly, This is how good you have to become to reach greatness. How are you on your worst day? 

On your worst day, you need to beat people at their best. 

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quotes on mental toughness
Every person or team has their own errors that they have to eliminate. Because more games are lost than they are actually won. 

If you want to understand what wins, you HAVE to understand what loses. 

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quote on success
After you have success, remember, you had it inside all along! Winning does not make you, the process does...

Oz never did give nothing to the tin man that he didn't already have. 

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mental toughness quotes for athletes
Bad things will happen, it's ALL about how we overcome it. 

It's not about the setback, it's about the comeback. 

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the hinge quotes
Be prepared for your Hinge moment.

When our moment hits, it's too late to prepare. 

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mental health quote
Our actions DO make a difference, we just can't know the impact! Life is about creating a better US. 

Plant trees that you'll never see. 

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If others are talking about you, it means you're doing something great! Not everyone will be a fan though, in fact, most won't. Keep at it and don't worry about "them." 

They don't boo nobodies. 

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dr rob bell Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.    Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

parents make this mistake

parents make this mistake

 Sport Parents Make This Mistake And It’s Dangerous. 

This is not a click-bait title, this post is about stopping this mistake that can literally save your young athlete! But, parents make this mistake all of the time. 

Albert Jennings was one of the top youth golfers in the entire nation before his 15th birthday. He won 90% of the tournaments he entered between ages 10-15 years old. He not only practiced and played golfer every single day and played in a tournament every three days, but he always wore pants when he golfed.  As a kid, he wore pants because was going to be on the PGA Tour.

PGA Tour player and 3x All-American Patrick Rodgers, once asked him “How could [he] get to Albert’s level?” 

So, what happens to the prodigy and wunderkind when they start to struggle? It’s the same thing that happens to all good athletes, it depends on the parents.  

As parents, what is the precedent that we set after unsuccessful outcomes and poor results? 

 A precedent is a rule or principle that serves as a guide for future decisions. I never thought it was applicable outside of the law and especially to sport parents. Oh my, how I was wrong. 

Read 10 Reminders if You’re A Stressed Out Parent of An Athlete

Parents make this mistake of setting a poor precedent after every important game.

  • Do we as parents start drilling them on the way home?
  • Is our role to point out everything they did incorrectly and how they can “get better?”
  • Is comparing them to others a common theme for us? 
  • Is the precedent we set immediately calling their coach?
  • Do we hit up another practice session right away?
  • Do we yell or pile on about how they aren’t “trying?”

On a long enough timeline, when do we as parents start to internally panic after enough mediocre results and feel helpless to just fix it for them? 

How parents behave and communicate after an event is the precedent that is set. Parents make this mistake by setting bad examples. 

When Albert Jennings started to struggle and not meet the super high expectations, the precedent took over, which was “what’s the matter with the swing?” Something is WRONG and we must FIX it! After every single unsuccessful event, it became what’s the matter? 

Listen to my guest episode on Parenting Peak Performers Podcast.

Focusing only on the problem and trying to figure it out for them begins a vicious negative cycle. What happens is that The athlete starts to search instead of practice. Very quickly the bottom can drop out because they get away from sound fundamentals. Their confidence which is already fragile now becomes an issue and once athletes lose confidence, it’s difficult to get it back.  

Athlete’s that had success early, yet later on struggle, face a difficult path. They often start to question their own athletic identity of “I win.” More importance is then placed upon results and outcome to regain their identity of “this is who I am.”! Now, they feel like they are on an island by themselves and if they are unlucky enough to be told “it’s all in your head,” then they are shot into the abyss. 

If we stare at the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back at us! 

When we set a poor precedent as parents, we are inserting ourselves into the mix of how to fix what went wrong and soon, the young athlete looks for you to solve it for them! We do not build capacity that way, all it does is build dependency. We don’t know what we don’t know, but sadly parents make this mistake of setting the wrong precedent and it can be one of the most detrimental actions toward development. 

We all want the best for our own kids, but isn’t it odd that we are the hardest on those who we love the most? We are hardest on them because we also have the highest of expectations for them. 

Parents, we NEED to develop a healthy relationship with winning & losing. Setting the correct precedent means simply operating the same after good and bad outcomes! We need to have a game plan before events and think about balance and perspective and keeping the sport pure. 

I interviewed Albert and gained so much wisdom from him. His insight is incredible and just know that he’ll be an awesome golf coach!

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

shut-off your mind before bedtime

 5 Ways to “Shut-Off” Your Mind Before Bedtime

Multiple techniques have been introduced already for a person to sleep faster. Among these options, shutting off the brain is deemed to be the most effective. Once your mind is relaxed, have a sound evening rest would be a lot easier.

However, here’s the catch: trying to shut-off your mind before bedtime is TOUGH!  Our brain is designed to think and to process ideas. It is entirely reasonable, but during bedtime, it is a harrowing experience. Some thoughts are gnawing and can turn into worries.

Again, it is true that you can’t easily shut off your brain. Despite this, you can still elevate all the essential requirements for your mind and body to get relaxed. 

Here’s are 5 ways to shut-off your mind before bedtime.

Shut Down Your Devices

It is true that you can’t switch-off your mental faculties. However, you can always help your mind and eyes relax by shutting down the gadgets that surround you. The radiation alone that is coming from these things can distract and stress your eyes.

While it is true that people are not prohibited to install entertainment systems on their bedrooms, it is still recommended that you won’t use them during or before your sleeping time. The things that you watch can play into your head, causing your mind to be active when it shouldn’t be.

Take a Warm Bath

There’s nothing wrong if you want to spoil yourself before bedtime. Before you go to sleep, it would be a nice thing if you could take a warm bath or shower. This kind of pleasure can also help in soothing your mind–allowing you to sleep faster.

Raising the temperature of your body will cause your body to feel sedated. It ensures that your entire system is relaxed and your mind, satisfied. Of course, when you have a relaxed mind, sleeping would never be a problem on your part.

You can also include some additives in your bath. Why not include scented herbs and lotions in the equation? They can double the sedating effect that your body can feel.

Get a Nice Bedroom

Honestly, it is pretty difficult to rest on a place where there is a lot of clutter and mess. Before you can find peace, make sure that your environment is conducive enough to support your goal.

Cleaning your bedroom is already a good start. Just clean all the rubbish that you see. Take out any heap of garbage that is sprawling round. Eliminate all items that cause distractions and uneasiness to you.

Of course, you have to fix your bed, too. Find an ergonomic mattress that can make you feel comfortable and relaxed. You also need to get a set of soft pillows to optimize the relaxation that your mind and body can handle.

Try Yoga

Yoga is an activity that elevates your mental control, concentration, and calm. It is not just a routine where you have to twist your body on some weird and extreme angles. In fact, even those who aren’t skinny enough can do the acrobatics in yoga.

Yoga is said to be an exercise that connects the body, mind, and spirit. This is the very reason why the regimen in yoga is not as extensive as those you can see in the gym. Instead, what yoga develops is discipline so that people can learn proper meditation to achieve a relaxed state.

Furthermore, it has been said that yoga also improves the quality of your evening rest. For instance, to stop snoring, some yoga routines should be executed.

Play Relaxing Sounds

Not all noises are distracting. Some of them can cause your mind to feel calm. For sleeping, it is best if you can play natural sounds–such of those that replicate that ocean, wind, or rain. Our brain accepts them as sedatives, so they are really useful for those whose minds are too baffled for sleep.

You can play these noises on a repeated loop until such time you fall asleep. Make it as a low noise or something that would serve as an audio background to your bedroom.

Wrapping it Up

You don’t need to have a “dead mind” so that you can sleep fast and comfortably. Instead, what you need is a brain that is entirely calm and soothed. It is the one that you need so that you can sleep peacefully during the night.

These techniques that have been introduced in this article are among the most efficient methods for relaxing and strengthening your mind. Please try them and see which ones work best for you.

Layla Parker is the founder and chief editor of ASleepyWolf.com. I decided to start taking my blog about sleep seriously to help people find what they need to experience better sleep and maintain their health. 






Top Ogo Best Leadership Podcast Episodes

Top Ogo Best Leadership Podcast Episodes

Top 10 David Novak oGoLeadtm Best Leadership Podcast Episodes

As former CEO of Yum Brands, by the time David Novak was 12 years old, he had lived in 32 trailer parks in 23 states.  I was introduced to this podcast by one of my golfers on Tour. I immediately started listening to every single episode. It took me several months, but here are the filet mignon of episodes. David does an excellent job of allowing every guest to share their experience and his demeanor is evident why he was such a significant leader himself. 


I’m a big fan of Harry Arnett having met him at the PGA Show, so I’m biased! Callaway is an excellent brand of innovation and consistency in the role of professional golf. (i.e. Callaway live show). “Innovate or Die” was an incredible lesson learned that Harry discusses in this episode. It was a failure that taught a big lesson. That experience in part allowed his own staff a space to evaluate and judge different ideas.



Spider Miller is a golfer who won the US Mid-Am in 1996 & 1998.  Winning was a hinge moment that allowed him to play in The Masters with Arnold Palmer where they developed a deep relationship. From Indiana, the stories about Spider are legendary. He was also the 2x Walker Cup captain and captain of the “winning 2017 Walker Cup team.”  It’s an excellent episode on his business acumen as well!



Hmmm, another golf episode, do you see a coincidental theme for the top leadership podcast episodes? I listened to this episode while on the bike trainer for my Ironman. His story about his first days as CEO was quite the experience. He shares how he was able to bring the U.S. Open to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club by making the Shinnecock nation part of that process. It’s an excellent lesson in leadership because there was major strife between the factions.



From a family of jockeys, she rode her first race at age 21 to actually eliminate horse racing as a career. Her perspective on winning and success was simple- “Do you want to win races as a jockey? Ride for people who win races.” The story about her broadcast career and especially interviewing Calvin Borel after winning the derby was very moving. Her message is “you have to find your niche’ in life!” She is inspiring!



Ken Langone has a fantastic story! He is a collection of many people and is NOT a self-made individual. He epitomizes the notion that NO ONE Gets There ALONE.

He is always learning and still working! His leadership style is represented by Home Depot that has 3,000 people working WITH them (not for them) who started pushing carts and now are multi-millionaires. It’s great hearing about how the only mistakes he regrets are the mistakes in judgment.



An excellent story about how he bought out his father from the business at a young age. His quote and theme for life are top-notch- “You can’t B.S. the person in the mirror.” It is interesting that one of the best leadership podcast episodes addresses their Youth Sports Initiative and Sports Matter Foundation. After the parkland High-school shooting, Dick’s also took the courageous lead by announcing that they would stop selling assault firearms and to anyone under 21 years old.   



This is a 2-part series. Tom Brady was a 6th rd, 299th overall pick. He epitomized capturing a Hinge moment! He is one of the best, if not the best quarterbacks in the game and what he has overcome is remarkable! His experience as a leader is undeniable, especially his take on confidence and emotion! “The NFL season is like climbing a mountain, everyone starts the same and the climb is long and arduous, but worth the summit.” 



It’s tough not to root for Rory after listening to this podcast. He’s won four majors but is driven as ever and he delves into his “why.” He discusses his growth as a player and how his team has developed across the years. He addresses overcoming injuries in his career and speaking his mind and being authentic. Gratitude is a cornerstone as well that he feels is a huge part of life! This is one of the best leadership podcast episodes!



Since I’ve worked with the University of Notre Dame Athletics, the impact of Jimmy Dunne is evident with the sports programs. One hinge moment came as he was rejected to every law school he applied. However, a player who he used to caddy for, instead directed him to Wall Street. He cites “playing like your behind” as the key to success. After 9/11, it was a difficult situation, so he took specific financial steps to help the firm establish an esprit de corps. One of my favorite parts of the podcast is when he refers to what he looks for in employees: refined desperation



Southwest Airlines had over one hundred and thirty million customer boarding’s last year. Again, I’m biased because I love Southwest airlines. What most impressed me about this interview is that Southwest Airlines has NEVER laid off or furloughed employees or cut pay. Their mission is to treat every customer like guests in their own home!

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

How to Win When Life is Unfair

How to Win When Life is Unfair

How to Win When Life is Unfair

Meldrick Taylor won the Gold Medal in boxing at the 1984 Olympics. Soon after, he took his 99-4 amateur record, turned professional, won the light welterweight title, and took his undefeated record into another title fight. It became the fight of the decade! 

In 1990, the welterweight title fight occurred between the challenger, Meldrick Taylor, 24-0-1, and the champion, Julio Ceasar Chavez, 68-0.

Going into the last round, Meldrick Taylor, the underdog,  had a lead over the champion, and Chavez needed a knockout to win. However, with 17 seconds left, Chavez tagged Taylor and actually knocked him down. Meldrick Taylor got up within five seconds, but with referee Richard Steele counting and only 2 seconds left…called the fight.

Jim Lampley announced, “This is the most unusual call by a referee in the history of the sport.”

If just two (2) more seconds were allowed to tick away, the fight would have gone to the scorecards, and Meldrick Taylor would have won a split decision. 

Chavez was strengthened after the fight and he became the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time stretching his unbeaten record to 89-0-1 before losing a match.

Although Philadelphia native, Meldrick Taylor fought the fight of his life, he suffered for it. In the hospital after the fight, it was reported that he experienced a facial eye fracture, was urinating pure blood, and even suffered short-term memory loss. 

The end result of the fight was that it was not fair, it was taken out of the hands of the fighters at that moment. 

So, here’s how to win when life is unfair

1) Fairness does not mean entitlement- 

I had many publishers reject my first book, was that unfair? 

Your good works will sometimes get overlooked. Other people may be picked or chosen or get the job you wanted. You may not be the one on stage or whose named is called for the award.

Are those instances unfair? Or are they just difficult outcomes to handle and accept? 

I once gave away my soccer suite to some high profile entrepreneurs. Never got a thank you and when I asked for a small favor in return several months later, it was crickets. Was that unfair, or just how people are sometimes? 

Remember, when someone says “it is what it is,” that means something bad happened! 

No one wants to admit that there are events and situations that are out of our control or that life is unfair. But, the fans on the losing side of any game are the ones who complain most about the refs. They play the blaming game and feel they are entitled. 

Look at your situation and is it unfair, or is there a feeling of entitlement because you feel you deserve it? 

When we lose, we need to be able to find what we learned from the situation and not automatically deem it unfair. 

Check out this post on happiness by conscioused.org and see if you can relate! 

2) Luck is part of it-

Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.

Let’s face it, how to win when life is unfair means you have to get lucky. Now, no one wants to admit that luck is part of it. I get it. But, it doesn’t make it any less real. 

What is crucial is the Importance of The Hinge and Mental Toughness. Every single one of us will have opportunities. What we do with that opportunity when it arrives is what connects who we are with who we become! 

Since luck is part of the equation, then we need to connect with and develop relationships with as many people as possible, because we just don’t know who can be that Hinge for us! 

We can’t isolate, because only mushrooms grow in the dark! 

3) Respond don’t react-

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve prepared, things will go wrong!

It’s a matter of “when” NOT “if” adversity will strike. Proper preparation means that you’ll know how to win when life is unfair! 

Luck, other people, people’s perception of us, other’s expectations, are all out of our control. We can influence others, but we do not control them. 

How we respond to adversity, however, is 100% in our control. We are in our control of how we look at bad events, as either unfair and unjust, or actually as an opportunity. 

When we are in the midst of the struggle, we need to respond, not react to adversity. 

4) It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback- 

Meldrick Taylor lost the fight of the decade and did suffer for it, but he also came back and WON the WBA Welterweight title and three successful defenses of that belt. 

Amy Beth Acker writes that wanting life to be fair is a major block to peace.  Acceptance is the key to all of life’s problems! 

We are going to lose. But, when we do lose, we need to do this instead… Remember, it’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback. It matters how we respond and bounce back after the defeats. That’s how to win when life is unfair!

5) Why? 

Life is a mystery.

I am clueless and baffled why natural disasters occur, why a two-year-old would develop cancer or sickle cell anemia, why a loved one develops an addiction or suffers, or how one begins to cope with losing a child. Most of life is filled with inconveniences, but these aforementioned are tragedies!

I believe that there is a God, and I know that I am not it. What I do know is that a tragedy, even though we don’t welcome it, actually becomes the strongest type of hinge. 

Tragedies are an immediate hinge. However, the worse type of tragedies are not what takes place to us— but what we do to ourselves. We will make mistakes. We’ll make poor decisions. However, aside from mistakes, or bad decisions, every one of us has defects of character or weaknesses that we really don’t want. It matters how we respond to the adversity and setbacks in life. 

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & Associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

mental toughness lessons

mental toughness lessonsmental toughness lessons 

I recently spoke to James Lawrence, The Iron Cowboy on my podcast. He completed 50 Ironmans, in 50 days, in 50 states.

I did one. 

.0007% of the world’s population complete an ironman every year. Walking down the street in the United States and you’ll meet 1 Ironman in every 1000 people. Guess it depends on your circle, because I’ll see four or five of them during every road workout. 

The entire race took longer than it was for us to drive from the Eastern Shore back to Indianapolis. 

Here’s the 5 Epic Mental Toughness Lessons I Learned from the Ironman. 

Have a Why

If not now, when? If not you, then who? I couldn’t answer those questions!

When Rob, When? 

I once wrote down one hundred things that I wanted to do before I died. A full Ironman was on there. But, that was not a deep enough present day why. 

My major “why” had to do with others. My family, Josh Fugate, Izzy, and Tyler Trent. A friend from church, Todd Dolbeer passed away from pancreatic cancer days before the race and I thought about him as well. 

Your why has to make you cry, if it doesn’t it’s not your why. 

There simply will never be a perfect time for anything challenging and epic in our lives. We are all too busy! So, quit getting ready to get ready and just do it. 

Face Your Fear and Do It Anyways

I started training on July 1st. I had 90 days to prepare for the race… My biggest fear was the bike. Not only did I have to borrow a bike again, but I needed to get serious training and miles!

So, I joined a Cycling team/group. The first group ride I joined was with about 12 other cyclists who all had the same jersey on and seemingly top of the line bikes. 

It was like try-outs for a team of one. It was the first day of summer camp when you knew no one, except everyone knew each other.  I had no jersey and didn’t know how to ride in groups. But, I faced the fear and did it anyway. I was an athlete, so it all came back to me. But, this cycle repeated itself several times with different cycling groups. I got a little better during every ride and closer to my goal and just like summer camp or a new team, eventually made friends. 

Face The Fear and Do It Anyways!

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I was taught some mental toughness lessons along the way. I got dropped from a ride twice and had a bad crash during one of my 100 mile rides, but always kept the goal in mind of the Ironman. 

By the time of the Ironman race, I had logged over 1400 miles. 

Check out the article by NYC Running Mama  about lessons learned from her ironman Journey(i.e., there is no need to fear the unknown). 

Enjoy The Journey

Everyday was a training day and I took the attitude that there was NO tomorrow.  So, my goal was not only the miles and the workout and the challenge, but it was also a mental toughness lesson about focus. 

I made it a point in training to focus on the moment and to focus only on this workout. This was my strategy to enjoy the journey. I got to ride all over Indiana and run crazy miles on the trail and see different places that I wouldn’t have without this race. 

More importantly, I got to meet and train with different people and became friends with these individuals! They helped so much with various parts of preparation. People and relationships are all part of the journey and has nothing at all to do with the destination. 

This skill of focusing on the moment translated directly into the Ironman race itself! I could only focus on just this mile!  I didn’t become all-consumed with trying to finish. I was just focused on making it to the next aid station. 

Check out this article by Will Turner on his lessons learned from his ironman.(i.e. Big goals are usually more daunting than you expect. )

Stop and Help Others

We live in an overly-sensitive, easily-offended, anonymous hating, and self-congratulating, world.


We can also live in a world where we are trying to create a better us and a better you! 

It depends upon on attitude, outlook, and actions, which reality we create. 

I wrote the book NO ONE Gets There ALONE because a stranger stopped his own race during a 1/2 Ironman to help me, an idiot! And that Hinge moment made all of the difference in my life. 

I went into this ironman race with a lesson already qued up. It was “who are you going to help?” I had no idea who is was going to be of course, but it presented itself during the bike when a guy had a flat tire and I didn’t hesitate for a second.

I stopped! 

I also was able to pray with a guy before the race even began while we were waiting to go to the swim corral. He had some serious anxiety and was a believer, so I shared with him my only go to! Pray and if that doesn’t work, pray again!

There’s Always A Second Wind

During the Ironman, the race really starts when it comes to the run. My first several miles were actually okay. But, like in life, things go bad and I started to have stomach cramps around mile 10. By mile 13, I wasn’t feeling good at all and started to get the chills and feel cold.

I saw this movie before at my previous races.

So, when I threw up on the course at mile 16, it was actually a relief. I felt better and was able to get moving. Except, I hadn’t eaten in a few hours and I didn’t want to eat, thus I had little energy.

Our second wind in life is always right around the next corner!  

I got my second wind at mile 21-22. I was able to get a steady clip going and ran with another mate, named Greg Sinche, who suffered from a stroke at age 4. We ran the last few miles together and I finished the race like I was running a 5k. 

I believe when we are at our best and others are doing the same, then it’s the easiest time to love on each other more. 

My times?

swim time= 1:21

Bike Time = 6:33

Run time = 5:45

Total 13:58

Even after all the vomiting, I was able to get sub 14 hours, which was one of my goals. 

dr rob bell

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books.   

Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and  coaches about Mental Strength and their Hinge Moment.

Two Simple Ways To Get Off Of The Struggle Bus

We ALL struggle! But, we all don’t have to ride the struggle bus.

No one wants to be on the that bus, where we repeatedly keep messing up, quitting, not following through, or letting others down.

The struggle bus’s only destination is to the pity party, where no one shows up, but YOU!

Here’s Three Simple Ways to Get Off Of The Struggle Bus

1) I immensely respect David Goggins. He’s an ultra-freak endurance athlete and the epitome of mental toughness. No matter what, he just keeps moving forward. He’ll walk right past the struggle bus!

David Goggins was asked at a conference “how do you keep going through your extreme races?”

He answered “what-if.” He starts to ask “what-if I can pull this off?” “what-if I can keep going and overcome?”


I’ve always said “what-if” never happened. Too often we ask ourselves “what-if” and there isn’t an answer because we are focused on the past and NOT the future.

Most of the time when we ask “what-if”, we are trying to re-create our own past. And it’s fantasy.

Google “what-if never happened” and see what pops up. Hundreds of scenarios that simply didn’t happen and the possible outcomes from these hypothetical events. (i.e. what-if 9/11 didn’t happen? OR what-if we caught that touchdown?)

But Goggin’s strategy of “what-if” is focused on the future!!

James Altucher asks us to wake up asking the questions of “what-if.” He states- When you start with “What if?” you start with questions instead of answers.

2) Jesse Itzler, who actually had Goggins move in with him for a month (Read: Living With A Seal) has a similar strategy.

He tells himself “remember tomorrow!”

Remember tomorrow how you’ll feel if you give up and stop? Remember tomorrow if you don’t finish and push-through!

Remember Tomorrow!

Both of these mantras are focused on the future and who we want to become!

3) One of my favorite lines from the Rocky Movies (and there are a ton) is from Rocky III. Apollo Creed is training Rocky in this movie and while Rocky is dealing with the typical battle against himself, Apollo drops some wicked knowledge on him.

There Is NO Tomorrow

So true, because if we approach everyday like it is our last, then we leave nothing to chance and seize this day and this moment for all it is worth…

Repeat any of these mantras to yourself when struggling and need to get off of that bus!


Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness.  Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and  coaches about Mental Toughness and their Hinge Moment.

dig deep and overcome

Three Tested Ways to Dig Deep And Overcome

Every single morning when I wake, an awful thing happens. The very first voice is an attack on myself and it says “you’re not running/swimming/biking this morning!” 

The very first voice of the day. 

Do you ever have that type of negative voice pop up? 

Early on in life, before mental toughness, that negative voice won. It was a wide path that led to hard drinking!

Nowadays, I mostly win this battle, because my routine and plan and goals of an Ironman, but it’s still there nonetheless. We can’t magically get rid of the adversity, struggle, or hardships. If you want to change your situation, we have to dig deep and overcome!

Here’s three tested ways to dig deep and overcome. 

1. Accept it and move on!

I was at a middle school dance when I finally summoned up the courage to ask this older 8th grader to dance. We’ve all had those tense moments!

Besides, I was told early on in life that the worse answer you can get is “NO.”

That is BS!

See, when I finally walked over and asked her to dance, she said something like “oh that’s sweet, let me get back to you.” Maybe she even patted me on the back or head, I can’t recall. 

Well, I scurried back to my spot at the gym and eagerly awaited my dance. I was excited, because I had heard a “yes” NOT an “I’ll think it over.”  But, I was stuck inside of my own head. I couldn’t ask anyone else and maybe, just maybe, she really did want to dance.

Then, after a few more slow songs, it was evidently clear that it was not going to happen. Then, the dance was over.

I learned “let me think it over ” is the worst answer I can get. A NO would have been more painful at the beginning, but we can accept it and move on.

Acceptance is the key to all of our problems. 

I was fired by my professional golfer weeks after spending the entire week at The Masters. It tore me up, because I was fired after I did a good job! I was embarrassed and heartsick. It took me months to get over actually. 

During that time, I didn’t progress, I got worse because I never accepted it and moved on. 

When we let go of it, it lets go of us!

We have to let go of the anger, resentments, and other people’s expectations. 

Spoiler alert: Bad stuff is going to happen, life is unfair. So, can you accept it and move on, or do you stay bitter and not get better. 

2. Do what is hard and life becomes easier. Do what is easy, and life stays hard. 

Our mind has one job, to keep us safe and out of pain.

It’s one reason why the negative voice in our head exists. It’s not focused on making you better, it just wants the path of least resistance! 

We all seek comfort in life. The scene of relaxing on a beach with an umbrella drink is glamorized, more so than showing someone chopping wood. It’s more comfortable and relaxing to be on the beach. 

But, when we ALWAYS seek comfort, it actually makes life hard.

We have to seek ways to push ourselves in all areas of our life.  Check out our article on 4 reminders to build mental toughness 

The best way is to push yourself in all areas by incorporating the JUST ONE MORE strategy. 

3. When it’s all said and done, more is said than done! 

EVERYTHING in life is easier said than done.

It’s easier to sit and watch TV than it is to exercise.

It is easier to go for a jog than it is to do wind sprints.

It’s easier to practice than it is to compete.

It is easier to NOT push ourselves than it is to push it. It’s simply easier to go through the motions.

Jon Morrow is a quadriplegic, and one of the most successful bloggers on the planet. He had to overcome massive challenges. Speech recognition software has enabled him to write articles read by more than 5 million people. He’s become a multi-millionaire, but more importantly has helped thousands of people dig deep and overcome themselves! Here is the article by Jon I recommend  7 Life Lessons From A Guy Who can’t Move Anything But His Face!  His toughness and ability to persevere has stemmed from living out his beliefs, his actions!

We All have an ACE card up our sleeve- A.C.E.- Action Changes Everything!

James Lawrence (The Iron Cowboy) Summed up perfectly in this 30 second clip from his documentary about 50 Ironmans in 50 states in 50 days. 


Dr. Rob Bell Mental Toughness

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness.  Please check out the podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness as we interview expert athletes and  coaches about Mental Toughness and their Hinge Moment.