Three things KILLING your Mental Toughness

Believe me, you’re tougher than you think. The proof is simple, you’re not dead. I should have died at least twice in my life.

We can’t connect the dots in our lives moving forward, we can only connect them looking backwards, which means we don’t know how things are going to turn out.

In our lives there will be moments that make all the difference. These Hinge moments that 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 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 trouble-shoot. 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. 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 were the culprit. All three of these things derailed my short baseball career in college. Off the field issues can kill our mental toughness.


Dr. Rob Bell

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   

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