Mental Toughness

I watch a good amount of sports and the term ‘mental toughness’ is sprayed around to everyone like candy out of a piñata.

You’re telling me, that because a team is down by 17 points and then comes back to win, that some quarterback or some off-guard has mental toughness? They are playing an f-ing game. Not to mention, they’re getting paid for it. How low is our bar that all it takes to be considered some strong person is to do your job? These people are considered heroes to some…it’s a joke.

You know who is mentally tough in professional sports? The guy who was cut from a team and works his way back from the minor leagues, or Europe, or from nowhere. The guy who came back from drug addiction and is challenged every day from life on the road. The professional athlete, and there are very few, who stay faithful to their wives.

Life is hard. It’s challenging. It throws you curve ball after curve ball. And if you can’t hit a curveball, then you are going to be in trouble.

You want to know if your mentally tough? Picture losing your job or getting kicked out of school. You lose your house. Your wife or girlfriend is on the verge of leaving. You are out of money. You are out of pride. You get some debilitating illness.  And on top of it all, you come down with a case of bed bugs. Nothing is working. Nothing is going right.

How do you respond? What do you do every day? What job do you take? Where do you go to live? What do you say to your girlfriend? This is your mental toughness being tested, and how you respond to real adversity in your life will be your score on the mental toughness exam.

You want an ‘A’ on that test…? Scratch and claw your way out of the hole you’re in. Work two jobs to make money. Assure your significant other that this isn’t going to last for long. Nut-up and take a job you don’t want. Do whatever it takes to make things right again in your life. That shows grit. That shows never quit. This is what mental toughness is.

I hope that you live such a charmed life that you never have to see how mentally tough you actually are. But in reality, there will be countless times in every person’s life where their mental toughness is tested. Some more than others, but every single one of us will be tested, repeatedly.

And here’s what’s great…mental toughness is not a natural gift, it’s a choice.

Choose to stand up. After you get knocked down again, choose to stand up, again. Choose to not back down. Choose to make things better.

That is mental toughness. Make the choice today.