two mental toughness skills

Two Mental Toughness Skills that NO ONE Talks About

I hate it when I hear others type!

It drives me up the wall because of course, I’m awful at typing. I look at them like a pauper views an aristocrat. I mean, how dare they actually NOT look at the screen when they type- the audacity!

It has become a laughing joke if others who know my work see me typing. I am a pecker!

That is not one of the two mental toughness skills I’m referring. But, I actually only use my two index fingers to type. I’ve written 6 books, a dissertation, thesis and a weekly newsletter using this method. I’m reminded about my shortcoming when I see others doing it so effortlessly.

Here’s the rub: my typing is effective, it is just not efficient. 

I was stubborn, errr, iron-willed. In high-school, I REFUSED to take some typing class, because why would I ever need to type that fast?

Check out our infographic of how the hierarchy of Mental Toughness works! 

1) Stubborn

I like it when my athletes have stubborn traits because it shows that they have the capability for belief in themselves.

Stubbornness can cause them to not overly-question their ability or skills. Stubborn people question the answers and other’s suggestions. That’s the strong side of stubbornness.

However, stubborn people are also the most difficult people to work with and coach. A stubborn person alone by themselves is in poor company. 

They often like to argue just for the sake of arguing. Stubborn people are rarely wrong, which means if you would just do things the way they wanted, all would be great.

The toughest part is that they just REFUSE to change.  Sure, they may dabble in the realm of improvement but they revert right back to their old ways under pressure or duress.

Stubborn is one of the two mental toughness skills, but by itself can easily fade into insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Stubborn MUST be balanced with being coachable.

2) Coachable 

I first met coach Chuck Pagano at the NFL combine. After introducing myself, the next thing out of his mouth was a question; he asked, “what do you emphasize with your athletes?” I had my answer and we chatted about it. I think it was a good answer, I’m not sure.

But, here is an NFL coach and he asked ME a question? I doubt Bill Parcells would have done that. So, here was my conclusion: he was just trying to get 1% better.

An easy tell if someone is coachable is the number of questions they ask. A coach’s favorite words to hear are “Can you watch this and let me know what you think?”

“How’s that working for you?”  That’s the question I need to answer.

If you have a stubborn athlete or employee, but they remain coachable, you’ve got a winner. It means that they are open to change and willing to receive feedback.

Stubborn and coachable are two mental toughness skills. 

If you have someone is stubborn but uncoachable, the solution is to emphasize the relationship and construct the trust. You have to get creative with stubborn and ensure they are the ones who came up with the idea. 

The walls of uncoachability often come slowly down the more he/she knows that you care about THEM and not just their PERFORMANCE.

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 books on Mental Toughness-