I noticed this past winter that I had accumulated (hoarded) scores of magazines.  I mean I had hundreds of Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Golf Magazines all stacked up in a corner. Perhaps, I had justified keeping these because “I may refer to an article,” but in reality, they were just taking up space.

Most of us keep things that we really don’t need, but we have yet to throw it away. Mentally, our minds work the same way; we hold onto baggage that serves no further purpose. This mental baggage is made up of poor decisions, bad play, resentments, self-pity, bad relationships, poor results, and hopelessness, etc. What really accompanies the mental baggage however is guilt and shame, which hinders any chance of being confident.

Mental baggage is any negative experience that we have not let go. However, instead of learning from the situation in which we were hurt or messed up, we hold on to it.

Even airlines charge bag fees, but we allow our own mental baggage to live rent free in our head.

On the other hand, successful experiences and accomplishments are thrown away. We discount our good performances because it met our expectations and we tell ourselves “that’s what we were supposed to do.” Yet, when difficult times return and we have feelings of doubt, we still have that mental baggage of negativity.

Get rid of your mental baggage. It is a difficult process to do because it means reflecting on painful experiences. Not an easy task! Who wants to remember how it felt when they we fired, missed a shot, or even lost a loved one? But, the importance of mental toughness is that it only takes one! Each one of us has a moment, person, or decision that is coming up and it will make all of the difference.  The Hinge can only connect when we can re-focus and completely “let it go.”

Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. 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

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .