The First Step to Build Mental Toughness

Coaches often talk about putting their athletes through intense workouts to build Mental Toughness. I am a firm believer in that but there is a step that may precede that.

This is something I learned by studying the greatest warriors of all time. Most of us look at groups like the Spartans, Navy Seals, Samurai, and Aztecs as quintessential examples of Mental Toughness. What do they all have in common?

All of these Mentally Tough groups are crystal clear on what they believe and what they stand for. They believe in different things and have different codes but they all live by it and are willing to die for it.

Watch some great examples here

This sounds very extreme. But Mental Toughness at its highest levels are extreme. Think of the toughest people you know mentally. I bet that they have a great understanding of what they believe about the world and a strong code/values that they live by. They may be different from your beliefs but mentally tough people have them.

Wrestlers that I looked up to as mentally tough role models (Brands brothers, John Smith, Cael Sanderson) and current wrestlers (Jordan Burroughs, Tony Ramos, Brent Metcalf) I believe to be mentally tough are all very clear about their values and what they believe about the world.

For some people it is their Faith, for others their Country, and for some it is their Legacy, Family or something else. The more authentic and the clearer their understanding of what they believe in, the easier it is to hold firm to when times are tough and things aren’t going their way.

This is a core principle of Mental Toughness: enduring hardships and persevering.

If you KNOW what you believe and are willing to live and even die by it, a gray world becomes more black and white. Decisions and daily choices are more straightforward and you will be able to dig deeper than you ever imagined.

Mindset assignment: Take some time this week to determine what you believe about the world. What are your values and what do you stand for? Determine your code for living and training.

Once completed it’s time to begin your Mindset Training with other exercises like this