I was a University professor for 5 years and I would announce to every class on the first day, all that they had to do to graduate college. It was simple…Show up…every day. If they showed up every day, they would almost guarantee themselves a grade of a C, even if they did nothing else. Now, just graduating with a C average probably wasn’t the goal for most, but the point is valid.
Never miss a class… If they are present everyday, then they are taking certain steps to ensure they learn. They force themselves to act as if. They act as a person who graduates does. That’s it. And in doing so, they also ignite specific beliefs. They take ownership and responsibility and as a result of showing up every day, they develop habits.
First we form habits, and then they form us.
Once habits are formed, then beliefs are shaped and we start to conform to our beliefs. The beliefs don’t have to even be deep rooted or existential questions, like does God exist? The beliefs merely form our reason for doing what we do. It becomes our “why.”
When we develop our why, we can come up with any how.
Wait, doesn’t that go contrary to acting as if, and shouldn’t we come up with a vision statement before moving forward?
Neither mental skill is mutually exclusive. Our actions and beliefs work hand in hand. You can’t act as if without having some kindle of a why, a justification, and a belief. Just as once you really discover your why, your purpose, and no longer act as if.
So, when we show up every day, we are in place to get better. We can’t help to learn something and improve in some small way, every day.
Now, how many times do you think Cal Ripken was battling a slump, injured, was sick, or had an off the field issue? None of it deterred him from just showing up. What I knew is that when I went to watch the Orioles, Cal Ripken would be playing. #NEVERGIVEUP
Let’s face it, Everyone faces adversity, encounters struggle, and goes through dry spells.
Mental toughness is how we handle, deal, and cope with these setbacks. and adversity.
It’s simple, but it’s just not easy.
Confidence is the most important part of mental toughness and a true indicator of how we handle the struggle…
Confidence is simply the belief that it will all work out.
Trust in our own team also means we believe that they will get the job done as well. A result of confidence is that the best remain relaxed and don’t freak out when the outcome is not going their way. The way to be confident is to not let anything bother you!
So, here is one way to be confident.
Nothing Bothers You!
The best simply let nothing bother them. They believe in their process so much, that they refuse to let setbacks affect their mindset or their team.
It’s amazing to see, but the best manage to keep their poise and focus. Nothing bothers them! They keep their head when others are losing theirs. It is the major impact of trust and the true test of one’s level of belief and mental toughness.
Now, we all get stressed, but what is our level of confidence during these times?
The Little Things
It is common for the major changes or setbacks to bother us…
However, ever notice when we get stressed that everything seems to bother us, like the person next to us in traffic or our family? When we are confident, these things don’t bother us at all, however they become the first thing to annoy us when we lose our belief that things will work out.
“Nothing Bothers You” is one way to be confident!
We can actually make this mantra a goal to be achieved rather than just an outcome of confidence. The only way we can achieve our goal of “nothing bothers me”, is if we are confident!
What we are really agreeing to is the belief that “I don’t need everything to go my way in order to be successful. I believe it will work out and I am going to act as if.”
Check out this Golf Channel clip from PGA Tour player Ryan Blaum on his mantra of “nothing bothers him.” It’s the one way to be confident.
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I have had a few head coaches that I really respect disagree with this statement that “confidence is a just a feeling.”
Folks on twitter have messaged me with their own arguments about confidence. Even some mental coaches disagree with this statement.
But, I’ll defend it…I’m stubborn.
It is the most important part of mental toughness, because it’s the most difficult and it affects all other skills.
It’s second tier on the hierarchy of Mental Toughness because we do things and attempt things we’ll be successful at and believe that we can do. Belief & trust are also the same concept. So, why is it just a feeling?
Research has shown that there are four sources of confidence. Physiological states are one source. How we feel!
When athletes or musicians perform at their best, I ask them; what were you thinking about? Their answer………” nothing.” They were in the moment, in flow.
Have you ever finished a workout or a run, looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, “Hey, I look good.” Honestly, you look absolutely no different from when you began, except you now feel different.
Elite performers all stress that when they are playing their best, the event actually slows down. They feel in complete control.
The first thing that goes when an athlete starts performing poorly is the lack of FEEL. Their play or technique may look fine, but if they don’t feel confident, they will search to get that feeling back.
Our prayers are not automatically answered, but we feel better after doing so, or even meditating. We feel at peace.
Mental coaches, myself included, teach ways to become confident by changing our physiology, our body language, and how we feel.
If trust wasn’t a feeling, then why stress focused breathing, becoming centered, or getting B.I.G.?
What happens when we lose confidence however is that our feeling now turns into thoughts. We just begin to think too much. We no longer trust our instincts, our gut. Instead, we get stuck inside of our own head and try to think our way into right acting.
The real key is still finding a way to win when we are NOT confident!
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
We may think of Mental Toughness as a huge culminating, you have it or you don’t event or thing.
However, these Mental Toughness tests are really about doing what others aren’t willing to do, pushing ourselves in all areas of our lives, and simply getting better.
Thus, since you’re reading this post, some of these tests will be easy, whereas others may be difficult. The key is to accomplish all ten in one day. Each of these tests challenges us to work on ourselves.
The reason we won’t is that we aren’t confident in ourselves. Maybe it is because we are troubled or uninterested in the other person. Don’t just gaze and look away either but right up to the point of it being uncomfortable.
2. Ask a question.
Ask for clarification or to elaborate in every conversation you’re in. Not only will it show your paying attention, but also you’ll learn more. Few people ask questions for fear of looking stupid, so it’s even better to ask a question in the presence of several people, such as a meeting.
3. Write out your goal for the day.
This is the easiest test, but don’t make it a to-do list. Most of us just think about the goal instead of writing it down. If you write down what you want to accomplish, you’ll achieve it.
In the movie, Wall Street, Gordon Gekko said it best “ Lunch is for wimps.” Pack your lunch; take a break and be present while you eat and recharge, then grind ahead. Everyday Mental Toughness tests take sacrifice and getting uncomfortable.
7. Turn off your phone.
This is the tough one for everybody because how long do we go without our phone anyway, 5 minutes? Plan when you get home to shut your phone off during a certain amount of time. Be present!
Too often, when someone speaks, we merely start talking about ourselves. Instead, just listen and put yourself in their situation. Ask a question and look them in the eye.
10. Forgive someone.
You can check this one off by forgiving someone who cut you off in traffic, or you can seriously work on this step and choose someone who really hurt you. These everyday mental toughness tests are simple, but NOT easy! Remember, resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Sometimes the most difficult person to forgive is ourselves.
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.
I’m a husband and father of two wonderful kids. I’m an Ironman, and endurance athlete, and I PLAY. Golf, swim, ski, run, ping-pong and chess. I speak & train with teams, organizations, and coaches on mental toughness.