Monday, July 13, 2015

Mental Toughness and Going For The Win

We're off camping! We've taken adventure by the hand and we're off to survive in the wilderness for 5 days. We will being foraging off the land and living like the pioneers did. 

I'm kidding.

That would be insane. We have a trailer, with a microwave. And importantly, a bathroom. But I've run a bit short of time so I'm recycling a blog post I wrote for my personal blog a while back. But the Pam-Am Games are currently going on in Toronto and I'm always fascinated by how athletes deal with the stress of competing.

No one can help but be impressed by the physical prowess of athletes competing at the Toronto 2015 Pam-Am Games. The best of the best from 41 nations, they are magnificent. Powerful, agile, honed to perfection, they push the bounds of human stamina. It's all very impressive to behold. But what's truly impressive, to me anyway, is the mental toughness it takes to get this job done. To compete and challenge the best in the world and not get lost in the mental garbage land of doubts, desperation, and the dark places one goes when things are not going as well as we had hoped.
No excuses allowed in this arena. Mental toughness and resilience are everything.
All this can apply to success in any endeavor, writing included. If you want to be the best you have to think like the best. According to David Yukelson, Affiliate Associate Professor of Exercise and Sport Science Sport Psychologist at Penn State there are four Key Psychological Characteristics Associated With Mental Toughness: Self-Belief, Motivation, Focus, and Composure/Handling Pressure.
Self-Belief: You have to believe you can do it. Without a doubt know you can do it. You need to figure out what makes you unique, make the absolute most of those qualities and strengths that work in your favor and that put you in contention.
Motivation: You have got to be able to taste the success. Feel it with your fingertips. See it as clearly as your face in the mirror. And you have to want it with everything you have in you. You need to take the setbacks that are going to come your way and use them to strengthen your determination. Use the momentum of motivation to bulldoze distractions.
Focus: Retaining that concentrated focus at the right times. By using routine and practice to signal effort. You walk through that door and it's on. You need to shut down the negative voices telling you things you don't need to hear. And you need to be able to turn it off when you walk back out.
Composure/Handling Pressure: Be in the moment. Embrace the pressure. It's in your hands. What you do with the distractions and unexpected events can mean the difference between productivity and negative gains. You will worry, the anxiety will wrap around you like an old friend. Learn to cope with it.
A Positive Attitude
"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."  Eleanor Roosevelt

Patience and Persistance
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”    ― Calvin Coolidge

Dreams do not come cheap. Nor are they easy. But we all have them. Are you prepared to put it all on the line to achieve yours? Which athletes have inspired you, past or present?

4 comments:

jblynn said...

The athletes that inspire me the most are the amateurs.

It's the 400 walker that has the guts to get on the treadmill or lumbers along the sidewalk.

It's the person who pushes their disabled child/sibling/spouse for the 26 miles of a marathon.

It's the "challenged" individual who could sit at home and feel sorry for themselves, but instead dedicates themselves to stretching their limitations.

THOSE are the ones who inspire me.

(Which isn't to say I'm not in awe of the kinds of athletes you're talking about. They just don't inspire me.)

Karyn Good said...

For sure, those people also so inspiring. I have a friend who walks 400 miles a year. Is this what you mean by the 400 walker? He was my high school math teacher and he posts updates periodically so we can cheer him on.

mustofa ahmad said...

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