became the hinge moment


How A Reader’s Digest Became The Hinge Moment

The Hinge connects who we are with who we become.

It is the one moment, event, or person that makes the difference in our lives…We just don’t know when or who that person or event will be. 

I’ve had many Hinge moments, some good and some tragedies. I’ve even shared a Hinge moment with An Olympic Champion. 

This is the earliest of My Hinge Moments, that would take almost ten years before it connected me with who I became. 

As a teenager, my grandmother used to give me the awesome gift of, wait for it, Reader’s Digest magazine…Thanks, Grandma! 

As a fifteen-year-old, Reader’s Digest really didn’t fit my needs.

However, it did become great bathroom material and I would read it while on the porcelain throne.

Well, within Reader’s Digest, I once read a story about the “runner’s high,” the physiological and psychological effect that runners would sometimes encounter during long runs.

It was like “being in the zone.” The study looked at how the personalities of those running long distances may transfer into other areas of their lives. I thought it was cool. This was long before my Marathon and Ironman days. 

Fast-forward nine years to the end of my undergraduate college; I had to choose a research project in my advanced Psychology class to graduate. We were to find a previous research study and replicate it. Well, immediately, the image that came to mind was the Runner’s High story in Reader’s Digest magazine. I tried to do the same study, did okay I guess, and presented it an undergraduate conference and thought no more about it. 

I knew early on that Sport Psychology would become my chosen path in life, so I applied to Temple University’s graduate school, although I never really applied myself in undergrad until my junior year, I was a hinge candidate at best.

The on-phone interview went surprisingly well and, in fact, the Temple University professor who was interviewing repeatedly probed at length my little research project on the Runner’s High.

I was accepted and even received a graduate assistantship that paid for my graduate school. 

The Hinge Moment….

As it turned out, my professor, Dr. Michael Sachs in 1984 was the one who basically coined the phrase, “Runners High” for his research. 

If it weren’t for my grandmother supplying me with Reader’s Digest subscriptions as a teenager, I would not have been accepted into Temple University’s graduate program, nor met my wife, nor continued on to Graduate work at The University of Tennessee, nor caddied on the PGA Tour, or work with so many gifted athletes. I wouldn’t have written a book titled: The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness either. 

We have no idea who or what may be The Hinge Moment. Our role is simply to be prepared. 

My story and this story would have been different. 

Who or what have been hinges in your life?  Share your Hinge moment here.

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 mental toughness 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.