mental toughness documentaries

Most Important List of 10 Mental Toughness Documentaries

Our previous two posts have a plethora of mental game documentaries. So, basically for another set of twenty to pick from: check these two posts out.

This list may eventually run its course , but as stated before: We would not promote or suggest docs that suck or wouldn’t help you Be The BEST At Getting BETTER. 

10. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, & Greed

“Happy Trees!” The life of Bob Ross, The Joy Of Painting creator is well-documented. He brought joy to millions and his passion was clear and always on displayin this mental toughness documentary. Unfortunately, he got mixed up with two extremely shady and ruthless characters, Annette Kowalski and Walter Kowalski. Spoiler Alert- Any Bob Ross material or proceeds are not owned by the Bob Ross family. 

9. Untold: Crimes & Penalties

The Danbury Trashers were a minor league hockey team in the UHL league in Connecticut. James Galante purchased the team and named his son A.J. Galante, president and general manager.

He was 17 years old!  But, he sure knew hockey! There were organized crime ties involved within its ownership and that lead to the downfall. But, the team had a hold on how they thought the game should be played (i.e., they set the league record for penalty minutes). 

8.  20 Feet From Stardom

In our other mental toughness documentaries list, we had Hired Gun as a killer. This was almost as good. It follows the best back-up singers of all-time and delves into their roles, dreams, and the step forward into the next. Don’t let anyone tell you luck and patience isn’t part of success. Bruce SpringsteenStingMick Jagger all star in this one! 

7. Untold: Breaking Point 

There is a line from Andy Roddick in this documentary that basically says ” There’s only been one person in history who didn’t have it as a young star and turned himself into an older star; and it was Mardy Fish.”  There are two main sections to 1 hour and 30 minute show. His rise to the next level of top tennis, the mental toughness part, and his struggle with mental health afterwards. 

6. Beastie Boys Story 

If you grew up when I did, it was tough not to like the Beastie Boys. They produced one of the top game changing albums of all-time. And they produced so much sampling and lyrical hits, that it was simply genius. This illustrates their story and continuation and struggles throughout the journey to stardom. 

5. Dolly Parton: Here I Am

Now, when it comes to Mental Toughness, Dolly Parton is it! The poverty she grew up in and the struggles that she had to overcome was intense. There was a special line in this about fear that she addressed and basically said, ” I’m going to make it.” That’s the grit needed and she lays it all out there. This is one of my favorite mental toughness documentaries. 

4.  Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible 

I was always a fan of KG since I saw him at a McDonald’s All-American game in 1995. He was a 7 footer who dribbled like a guard! I always enjoyed his doggish mentality and his intensity as he was one of the first to jump from H.S. straight to the NBA. This film follows his career and you’ll get a glimpse into what it really takes even when you have all the talent. The arm-wrestling scene is the best! 

3. The Alpinist-  

Marc- Andre’ Leclerc is a free climber (no ropes), but what makes even Alex Honold take notice of him is that he climbs on all-different surfaces.

It is a pretty intense film that has some major twists. His passion emanates from such a transcendental journey. If you dig climbers and climbing movies, check it out. 

2. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

We go from anything is possible, to nothing is impossible on our documentary journey.

Nirmal Purja is the star in this climbing/ orienteering journey. His goal is to summit the 14 highest peaks in the world in seven months. The record for the summits has been 16 years….These mental toughness documentaries simply get better and better. 

1.The River Runner

This is number one on the list for a reason!

Scott Lindgren is the star of this epic film and just had him a guest on our podcast as well 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness

Scott Lindgren changed the sport of kayaking in the 90’s and is a member of the International Whitewater Hall of Fame. He’s made 50 first descents all around the world. His vehicle is kayaking, but his story is the reason for these mental toughness documentaries. He provides tons of insight and clarity into the mental game! 

mental toughness documentaries


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


7 honest ways to build grit

7 ways to build grit

7 Ways To Build Grit

HONEST ways? 

It’s honest, not only because these are truthful, but because the truth often hurts! For example, when someone asks you “do you ‘really’ want to know what I think?” It requires patience!

Is that an honest request, or is it an ask for positive feedback, even if it was awful? 

The truth hurts because we can ALWAYS get better or go faster, or go farther. 

honest ways to build grit

If seven ways is a bit too much of a task to tackle, then check out our popular post on just ONE of the 7 ways to build grit.  

Step into the next

1. Step Into the Next- The best in history, in any field, were able to recreate themselves and always focused on the process rather than the product.

What shapes your priorities is how you answer the question. 

Do Hard Stuff

2. Do Hard Stuff! – Gratitude and Perspective and Patience are powerful forces of both the mind and spirit! 

The Daily Disciplines

3. The Daily Disciplines- Adam Kerley was a guest on our podcast 15 Minutes of Mental Toughness and he spoke at length about the common shared characteristic amongst the best athletes… he said “The Daily Disciplines!”

It’s an important singular tool as we build the 7 ways to build grit. 

How To Achieve Patience

Check out our new book: 

I Can’t Wait To Be Patient 




Get rid of the media

4. Rid The Media- The mental game is much more about subtraction than it is addition… It is frankly often about removing the things or people in our lives that simply do not propel us forward. 

Marinate Your Mind

5. Marinate Your Mind- I’ve written often about the importance of soaking our mind inside of positivity, present focus, and confidence! Learn from others and how they did it grants us our own self belief. 

Puke & Rally

6. Puke & Rally – It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback! This is the honesty part that not many want to share with you when we discuss 7 ways to build grit. Your own journey will be harder than you think, but remember your harder (tougher) than you think as well! Puking is not fun, but it is necessary! 


7. Rest- A good line of thinking when it comes to training, preparing, and recovery is the following: It’s not about over-training as it is about under-recovering. 


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

11 ways to instantly improve youre mental toughness for 2022

11 ways to instantly improve youre mental toughness for 2022

11 Ways to Instantly Increase Your Mental Toughness in 2022










improve mental toughness marinate your mindhire a coach

set up an AM Routinebuild confidence remove something

Tip moremove on 11 ways to instantly increase your mental toughness in 2022


Too many academics need to publish their own definition to warrant acclaim and significance, but I’m a cash & carry guy. Keep it simple…Simple is powerful.

To define:

1) Mental Toughness is a) how you perform under pressure and b) how you deal, handle, & cope with adversity, struggle, and the setback. 

Remember though, it’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback!


2) A few notes regarding the cerebral game and how this infographic and slides can assist. Because seriously, how can taking cold showers increase my overall game, outlook, and experience?

3) Mental Toughness is caught more than it is taught. We get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

4) This mental toughness won’t always WIN it for you, but a lack of it will lose it for you.

Emotional Toughness = Mental Health

5) The IMPORTANCE of possessing it is The Hinge! 

We are all getting ready for a Hinge Moment, because once it hits, it’s too late to prepare…

Practicing these skills will build specific parts of our overall game- CONFIDENCE, DISCIPLINE, FOCUS, COMMITMENT, and the ability to RE-FOCUS. Remember, we are ALL Athletes, our office is just different! 



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

stop listening to yourself

Start Telling Yourself and STOP Listening To Yourself

It’s kind of funny when people want to discuss their subconscious. It’s usually in the context that their subconscious mind kept them from what they wanted to happen. The subconscious has become a scapegoat. 

Yes, we all have limiting beliefs patterns, faulty habits, head trash, and personality issues. And there is little debate that our biggest obstacle and opponent is our own mind. 

However, there is a simple solution to overpowering our own mind. 

(watch video below) 

Tour Pro, Jimmy Knous, needed to make birdie on his final hole to secure his PGA Tour Card.


And the key was when he stood at the tee box, he told himself “We gonna do it!”

He told himself what he was going to do. He made sure to stop listening to himself.

Our mind has one job, to keep us safe. That is it. It’s not the best coach. 

Our own mind goes contrary to our goals and aspirations of being great and successful. Our mind will always try to hijack ourselves. Since it’s automatically filled with negativity and fear, you need to stop listening to yourself. Hence, the key is to start telling yourself instead.

  • Call your shot
  • Tell yourself what you’re going to do
  • Be brave
  • Be bold
  • Tell yourself again and again and again

 It’s how we overcome our own fears and commit to the task at hand! It takes mental toughness

It can begin in everyday life, with something small, but just be sure to say it aloud and watch how the focus and confidence and commitment all increase. Thus, when confronted during moments of high stress and pressure, you’ll be prepared to utilize this strategy! 

Stop listening to yourself  and start telling yourself instead.


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


stop listening to yourself

puke & rally

Top 25 Examples Of People Who Can Puke & Rally

Excerpt from the book

If we have been told or shown that we are not good enough, either by others or our circumstance, then we all can have a comeback.

Many do not, it is far easier to blame and give-up. 

It is up to you.

But here you’ll see both types of comebacks, people who had outwardly success early and those who had success later. 

  • This girl was born prematurely in 1940 and was the 20th of 22 children born to her dad that consisted of two marriages. She had double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio as a kid. She had such problems with her left leg that she wore a brace from age five to 12. She also was black and grew up in the segregated south. Wilma Rudolph ended up winning three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics. She became one of the first national role models for female and black athletes. Her advocacy transcended sports and opened up avenues for strength and prosperity for marginalized groups within the United States.


  • This small horse was described early on as undersized, knobby kneed, and prone to sleeping and eating for long periods of time. He was the butt of stable jokes and called “lazy” by his initial trainer. He failed to win any of his first 17 races, and only won ten of his first forty races. Seabiscuit’s comeback, however, included being voted horse of the year in 1938. Seabiscuit also beat the reigning triple-crown winner, War Admiral, in a head-to- head race by 4 lengths. He was voted 25th best racehorse of all-time. One of the epic stories of how someone believes in you can help you puke & rally


  • Lebron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was born when his mother was just 16 years old. She raised him single handedly from the age of 19 and had to move 12 times within just three years.


  • J.K. Rowling’s manuscript of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times and she was told “not to quit her day job.” To illustrate her character along with her comeback and because she donated so much money to charitable organizations, she dropped off the U.K.’s billionaire list.


  • Paul Owen grew up on food stamps and welfare. His father died when he was five years old and his mother died when he was thirteen. He moved around among three states and seven foster homes. Paul eventually earned his PhD, became a published author, and a tenured professor at Montreat College in North Carolina. He remained patient. 


  • This 17-year old moved to New York City with only $8 dollars in his pocket and a guitar. After a year of playing, while living off others to get away from the cold and hardships, he moved back to Los Angeles. He continued to play, but had a four dollar-an-hour job at a video store and lived in a shack. In 1993, Beck released the song, “Loser,” which reached the top 10 in the charts. His first album was released a year later and he has since become a four time platinum-selling musician.


  • Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, was one of last players picked in the 2000 NFL draft. There were six other quarterbacks drafted before him. It’s tough enough being the last player picked on the schoolyard games!


  • Peyton Manning, Hall of Famer and two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback, was plagued with the moniker of “can’t win the big game.”


  • Best-selling author, Stephen King, worked at a laundry mat and his first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. He threw it in the trash, but his wife fished it out and he submitted it once more. It was finally accepted.


  • Dubbed, the “queen of all-media”, Oprah Winfrey was born into extreme poverty in rural Mississippi. She had to wear clothes made out of potato sacks. She was molested and raped as a young girl on different occasions by three different family members. She was pregnant at the age of 14 and her son was born prematurely and died.


  • Publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first book 27 times before And to think I saw it on mulberry street was published. Did you ever think Theodore Geisel could puke & rally


  • David Blaine, one of the greatest magicians, once held his breath underwater for over 17 minutes. However, he was born with asthma and a severe leg condition that caused his feet to turn inward. It was because of his setbacks that he was forced to hold his breath as a kid and as a result, he improved dramatically.


  • After becoming the youngest governor in California history at age 36 in 1974, Jerry Brown lost three bids at President of the United States. He ended up becoming the oldest governor in California history with his election in 2011.


  • Billy Mills won the Olympic Gold Medal in the 10,000 meters and was the last Unites States male runner to do so. Before the Olympics, he needed a new pair of running shoes and was told “no, we only have shoes for potential medalists.” He ran almost an entire minute faster than he had previously to win. It’s never easy—It takes a lot to puke & rally


  • Kate DiCamillo clocked up a staggering 473 rejection letters within six years before striking a publishing deal for her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, which became one of the top all-time children’s novels.


  • Sergio Garcia burst onto the professional golf scene and dueled with Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship. However, he long carried the title, “best golfer to never win a Major championship.” He had zero Major wins in 73 career starts. He even once claimed, “I was not good enough to win a Major.” He shed that title by finally winning the Masters in 2017.


  • Jack Canfield’s best-selling book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was rejected 144 times. He wrote, “I encourage you to reject rejection. If someone says no, just say NEXT!”


  • In 1967, this musician got booed off the stage and was subsequently dropped from the tour where he was opening for The Monkees. His name was Jimi Hendrix. 



  • Steve Jobs was fired from the company that he founded only to be re-hired 11 years later. His return propelled Apple® to the elite status of innovation.


  • Ellen Latham was fired at the age of 40 from her dream job as an exercise physiologist in 1996. Her comeback resulted in founding the franchise Orangetheory®


  • Hillary Scott, twice, never made it past the preliminary stages on American Idol, meaning that she didn’t even get to sing for the judges. She then founded Lady Antebellum and has since won 5 Grammy’s.


  • Mike Krzyzewski, during his first three seasons at Duke University, had an ACC record of just 13-29. He became the NCAA all-time winningest coach in basketball history.


  • Robert Downey Jr. had several years of headline-grabbing setbacks of drug-abuse and mistakes. He once was arrested for driving his Porsche naked with heroin, cocaine, and a loaded .357 magnum. His comeback has resulted in him now being one of the best actors in history.


  • Jan Koum and his mother moved to United States at the age of 16 from Kiev, Ukraine. They lived off government assistance and he swept floors at a local grocery store. He sold his company WhatsApp® at the age of 37 for approximately $7 billion.

Remember, It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback!


puke & rally


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

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…

(As a side note, if you’d like to watch my 15-minute documentary of my 100 mile trail run, here it is…) 

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.


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. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

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. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

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.



He couldn’t accept cash for the transaction, I needed to use a card. 

I handed him my card and it doesn’t work. The machine breaks down on him and it 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. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 

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. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. 


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: It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback

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. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.