Examples of mental Toughness

Here are 17 Famous Examples of Mental Toughness 

Mental Toughness depends on our ability to re-focus, let go of mistakes, and use setbacks as comebacks! It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback!

Here are 17 Examples of Mental Toughness

• In game 5 of the 1956 World Series, Don Larson pitched the only perfect game in history. However, in-game 2 of the same series, he pitched only 1.2 innings and lost the game 13-8.

• Hall of Famer, Raymond Berry, who retired as the NFL’s all-time reception leader, only caught 13 passes his entire rookie year in the league for the Colts.

Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player in history, has won seven Wimbledon titles. Yet, he lost in the first round of Wimbledon his first three years of playing.

Taylor Swift was passed over by RCA for a record contract at age 15.

Andre Agassi lost his first three Grand Slam Finals.

Jeff Immelt was hired on Thursday, September 7, 2001 as CEO of General Electric (GE), the multi-national conglomerate, following Jack Welsh, the famous icon. The following Tuesday, Septemer 11, 2001, the rookie CEO watched on NBC, which GE owned, as two GE-financed planes crashed into the Twin Towers that GE insured.

Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings recovered a fumble and ran it the wrong way to the end zone, and threw it out-of-bounds for a safety. The next drive, he sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble which his teammate picked up and ran for a game-winning TD.

Now, this is the greatest of examples of mental toughness, because if you google his name, you’ll witness the setback. 

Matt Biondi was a favorite to win 7 Gold medals at the 1988 Olympic games. He lost his first two finals, going 0-2. He ended up winning 5 Gold medals at the Games. There’s the proof it’s all about the comeback! 

Mike Krzyzewski, during his first three seasons at Duke University, had an equivocal record of 38-37, with an ACC in-conference record of just 13-29. 

William Jennings Bryan was nominated by his party to run for U.S. President three times and lost every time. In 1925, at age 65, his brilliant defense decided the Scopes Monkey Trial.

• Country singer Trace Adkins was shot by his ex-wife and survived. The bullet even went through his heart and both lungs. These are painful examples of mental toughness. 

Danielle Ballengee slipped and fell down a 60-foot cliff while on a training run and spent two days stranded outdoors in Utah suffering with a shattered pelvis and internal bleeding. Just 150 days after her accident, 90 of which were in a wheelchair, she finished fifth in a 60-mile adventure race that included mountain biking, running, orienteering, kayaking, and a ropes course. Wow, such extreme examples of mental toughness!

Jim Abbott, who had only one hand and pitched for 10 years in the Majors, culminated with throwing a no-hitter in 1993. He threw his no-hitter against the Indians, whom he faced the outing before lasting only 4 innings and giving up 7 runs.

Lady GaGa was originally signed to Def Jam Recordings at age 19, but the company let her go after just three months.

George Washington lost his first battle. He had plenty of examples of mental toughness in his life. 

Johnny Unitas’ first pass was intercepted for a touchdown. He wound up playing for 18 seasons and  throwing a touchdown in 47 consecutive games. 

Napoleon Hill, author of a best-seller, could not think of a name for his book. Unless he came up with one, the publisher would use the title, Use Your Noodle to Get the Boodle. Hill awoke at 2 a.m. on the deadline date, when the title came to him, Think and Grow Rich. Why is this mental toughness? Because we have to trust ourselves…

Roger Bannister finished fourth in the 1952 Olympics. It was this hinge moment and disappointing finish that drove him to break the four-minute mile. Wow! 

All of these examples of mental toughness have one common theme and that is there was a setback, failure, and futility before the comeback.

It’s not about the setback, it’s always about the comeback. 


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. 


There’s a Huge MYTH about Trust

The best part about sports is that it is NOT like life. In athletics, A team or player won or lost, period.  Wash and wear. There is little ambiguity, because the Ball Don’t Lie.

Life on the other hand has tons of ambiguity to it. It is not as clear cut, nor clean. In fact, it’s messy.  In Life, there is a lot of gray.

Trust is the most important mental skill. (e.g., confidence) for success because it impacts all the other mental skills, but we automatically think in all or nothing terms…We have trust or we don’t. There’s the huge myth about trust. 

Trust is a continuum, It’s not ALL or NOTHING! Addicts think that way, ALL or NOTHING. I am either the best ever, or I am a horrible loser and no one is there for me.

I trust my pastor, but not for him to cut my hair. I trust myself with helping high-performers and athletes, but not for me to fix my own deck or garage door.

It’s not a question of IF I trust, it’s a question of HOW MUCH do I trust?

Trust is a process… HOW MUCH do we trust our coaches and loved one’s?  Trust affects everything because the more we trust and have confidence, the better focused, relaxed, and honest we become. Think about it, if we give a task to someone and know that it will be done, it frees us up to focus on something else.

How much do we trust our gut, and our own instincts?

Life teaches us that we are going to struggle and also be under pressure moments. When we mess up, how much of our trust and confidence is left, and how do we continue to build and work on it.

Proverbs 3:5-Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

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Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

Glenn South 40I really had little clue of the importance of details.  I’ve heard it and lived it many times, but it finally hit home. While shooting the mental toughness film titled No Fear- A Simple Guide to Mental Toughness. Did you know that if one can accurately roll the A/V cables, then you’ll have a job in the movie/video/MTV business. That’s it, and always show up 15-minutes early.

Media production classes even have rolling up AV cable as part of the final. It’s that important. The cables are 2k a piece (on the low end) and in the midst of tons of expensive equipment, the cables can’t ever be compromised. Any kink in the cable can cause the slightest volume fluctuation or disruption. It all starts and ends with how they are rolled up. In large moving sets, the cables must be thrown out so that they will roll successfully and fast.

Now, I take great pride in everything I do, but I admit, I neglected the rolling up piece. I know how my christmas lights are stored away and even my ear buds in my gym bag. I run into kinks all the time!

How we finish is important, like stretching, writing out to-do lists, cooling down, and checking over our work for errors. But when you’re finished, it doesn’t matter until you start again…Maybe that’s the key, finishing strong and going over the details helps us when we start again, because there is no finish line.  If it made a significant difference, would we actually pay attention to it or just hope for a job in the movie industry?

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The Hinge-The Importance of Mental Toughness Dr. Rob BellDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact