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your mental toughness

This Element Will Make or Break Your Mental Toughness

Growing up, I was always told that I was a mudder. A mudder in horse-racing is a horse that does better in adverse conditions! 

As an athlete, I loved the slop, poor conditions, and built-in adversity! Poor conditions level the playing field for everyone, no matter the talent level, so I conditioned myself to welcome tough conditions. The worse, the better! The truth is- every element can make or break your mental toughness. In extreme heat, I’ve bonked so hard in races, that I’ve been on the side of the road, throwing up. ( but, I still finished).  

But, This lesson in mental toughness has to deal with another element, WIND! 

Wind is the most powerful element and it will make or break your mental toughness. It impacts all of the other elements, from the spread of a wildfire to a hurricane, and even the windchill factor. In athletics, the success of sailors and golfers hinge on the wind. 

The wind will make you or break your mental toughness! Here’s where I re-learned it! 


On a 10-mile training run, there was a windchill of 38 degrees, it was windy, and raining. 

On my 5 miles out, there was a STRONG tailwind at my back. It felt good, but I also recognized it and was thankful for it.

In life, we need to PRAISE THE TAILWIND!

Too often in LIFE, we don’t even recognize the tailwind. If the wind is ever so slight, we still need to be thankful for it. We did nothing for it, but it is helping us.

It’s only after we experience the headwind that we realize how much the tailwind was there. I would much rather face the headwind early to experience the tailwind later on…

On the way back of this training run, when I made the turn at mile 5, there was the STRONG headwind. It was brutal! At least I was able to prepare for it, so I became thankful for it! I cheered it on.

In life, we need to CHEER THE HEADWIND! 

The tailwind was there to assist me, but the headwind was there to improve me.

The headwind is what made me better. It forced me to push through, focus, and work harder.

I don’t see too many people cursing the tailwind in life! If we are going to cheer on the tailwind, we must also thank the headwind, we can’t have it both ways.


A study in the bio-dome in the 1980’s revealed an amazing discovery for scientists. It was a perfect environment for everything to grow, especially the trees. However, when all the trees reached a certain height, They all TOPPLED OVER!

Scientists were baffled why would this happen. 

The Bio-Dome lacked the element of wind! Without it, the roots system didn’t get any stronger!

Can You PRAISE THE TAILWIND & CHEER THE HEADWIND!

We need the adversity and difficult conditions in life. It’s the ONLY way that we grow and improve! 

That’s why this element will make or break your Mental Toughness.


top mental toughness coach

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 books on Mental Toughness- 

killing your mental toughness

Three Things Killing Your Mental Toughness

We can’t connect the dots in our lives moving forward, we can only connect them looking backward.

That means we don’t know how things are going to turn out.

In our lives, there will be these small moments that make all the difference. These Hinge moments will connect who we are now to who we become. We need to be ready and we need to be confident.

Confidence is the foundation of your mental toughness. When I lose confidence, I isolate, and only mushrooms and mold can grow in the dark.

Here are the three things killing your mental toughness


1) Expectations-   

Growing up, my expectations were simple, Be The Best.

Except, I added two words to that mantra, at everything. I wanted to be the fastest, smartest, funniest, best looking, etc. Heck, I wasn’t any of those things even in my own class.  I can’t even be the best Rob Bell, A pastor holds that title.

Tiger Woods used to say, “ I expect to win the tournament.” 

Expectations are not confidence, but we confuse the two. Expectations and confidence are just cousins.

We can have confidence in the things we can control, but we hold no control over how we want things to work out. Expectations are out of our control and they turn into tomorrow’s resentments. Continuing to have the highest of expectations means we will struggle when we have to adjust and troubleshoot. We basically only control, our effort, our attitude, our confidence, and how well we let of mistakes and re-focus. 

2) Doubts-

I just thought that the very best didn’t have doubts.

Whereas, I bumped my head continually on self-doubt.

It was only after I spoke with Olympic Gold Medalists that they confessed they too had doubts. Things go wrong and bad outcomes happen, but these champions believed in their preparation and more importantly they believed in themselves. Fear grows on our doubts. I hate listening to the doubt inside my head, so I have to recognize it.

When things are bad, remember it’s just temporary and your mental toughness will return.

Make adjustments, breathe, let it go and if that doesn’t work, do it again.

3) Drugs, Alcohol, Sex-

The better we get, the more important mental toughness is off the field than on the field.

James Banks was the best college football player I saw live (outside of Randy Moss).

This James Banks later stated after getting kicked off of Tennessee’s football team, “All because I wanted to have a good time.”  Examine the BEST in our area who didn’t make it, chances are, one of these three was the culprit.

All three of these things derailed my short baseball career in college. Off the field, issues will kill your mental toughness.


top mental toughness coachDr. 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 books on Mental Toughness-