After the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to the Super Bowl, star Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked what makes his team so special. His answer was short and succinct: "mental toughness."
Not exceptional physical strength, not training, not even superior talent. Mental toughness.
In the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, Graham Jones, Sheldon Hanton and Declan Connaughton interviewed elite athletes, as well as elite-level coaches and sports psychologists, to arrive at the following definition of mental toughness: It is "having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on a performer; specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident and in control under pressure."
There are many characteristics that contribute to mental toughness. It all starts with training and preparation. If you aren't prepared to do your job, you have no chance. The will to succeed must be preceded by the will to prepare.
Consistency goes hand-in-hand with preparation. Getting started is hard enough, but consistently carrying out your plan is more difficult. Even the best business plans will fail without a dedication to consistency.
Other important traits are concentration and focus. It's a topic I hear about frequently in business. The most common complaints? Too many projects spinning at one time. Too many interruptions. Too little time. To deal with this, you must stay focused as best you can, and avoid letting things happen to you — not when you can make things happen.
Poise under pressure is another important attribute. It's easy to show poise when everything is going well. It's a lot tougher to maintain your poise when things are not going well. Focus on what you can do or control.
Next, everyone must have goals. What is it you want to achieve? Truly dedicated individuals won't let anything interfere with the attainment of their goals.
Determination and discipline almost go without saying. If you don't have a deep-down burning desire to achieve something, you won't accomplish it.
This old quote says it best: "Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to." To be mentally tough, you've got to love competition. You'll never realize your full potential in business or sports unless you are challenged.
People who are mentally tough are resilient. The strong survive not because they are determined to conduct business as usual, but because they find ways to rise above the issue at hand. You've heard the old saying: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Believe it. That's what separates the winners from the losers.
By the time you read this, the Super Bowl may be over. But I guarantee, the winner will be the team that understands the importance of mental toughness. When life tests your mettle, nothing succeeds like an iron will.
Sports Hypnosis is a powerful tool used by many athletes to boost self-confidence, focus & get into the zone. If you are into competitive sports or just want to play at the maximum you, feel free to contact me at (424) 645-7517 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I work with athletes at my office in Los Angeles and beyond via Skype or FaceTime in sports such as, but not limited to, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, football, hockey, golf, track, bodybuilding, bowling, boxing, ice-skating, fencing...