Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mental Toughness

I learned "mental toughness" the hard way. I suppose that's one of the best ways to learn it. What does mental toughness mean to you?

To me, my first time hearing of these words was from my big brother, Robin. He used it as an excuse to beat, bang, squish, twist, punch, pull and hold me down. Six years older and built like a rock, he would mostly make me cry, at which point, he would say that he was teaching me "mental toughness." You can say my lessons of mental toughness were no fun, for me at least. As I got older, I punched, pinched, twisted, and kicked back, usually only to get the same back just harder, and more tears. And as time kept passing, I got tougher and tougher. I blocked, thwarted, and outplayed him. My mental toughness was flourishing. who'd a thunk it? Not I, that's for sure. Looking back, cause we all know hindsight is 20/20, all our rough housing really developed my inner, mental strengths. I give him lots of credit for the unknowing, disguised lessons of mental toughness, unless it was his plan all along. Hmm...

33 years later, I am mentally tough! I've used my mental toughness skills as an athlete, wife, ex-wife, employee, supervisor, mother, etc... While I wouldn't say I have a hard life by any means, on the contrary, I would say "life is good" partly due to my mental toughness! It's this toughness that gets you through any kind of crappy life moments, of which I've had quite a few in the last few years...not complaining!

So in thinking of how I've used mental toughness to get me through my life's crappy moments, I started plotting a timeline in my head, which then lead to a draft play by play of the last few years on paper. I decided to add the good and the not so good to show the true time line, not just the crappy moments. So in the near future, look for a blog title "the crap line of my life" which ironically starts after the best day of my life, my son's birth!

So anyhoot, I found this quote today, which gave me the inspiration for this blog. This is exactly how Mental Toughness would be defined by my brother Robin and I thank him again, for another major, life changing, ever lasting, life lesson learned!

"It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind."

Side note: My brother, Robin, passed away Tuesday, August 11th, 2009. The Friday night before he passed away, he was talking to our aunt about me, not sure in what context. And he told her to tell me these two words and that I would know what he was talking about. When she told me the story, she couldn't even remember the two words he had told her. When she said it was two words, I blurted out "mental toughness." She said "YES! that's it!" Mental toughness was "our thing." I never realized how popular it was; in books, sports articles, fitness tips, tests, quotes, and more. ...So maybe my brother knew what he was doing all along?!

Seeing these two quotes from Vince Lombardi, legendary NFL coach, I believe he knew exactly what he was teaching me (being an avid NFL sports fan):

"Mental toughness is essential to success"

"Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It's a state of mind-you could call it character in action."


Tabitha Bird said...

Is there any other way other than the hard way to learn mental toughness?

I learned it at the hand of abuse. I learned it as I healed. I learned it as I re-stiched my life back together as an adult. I learned it while running. I learning it while boxing. I learning through motherhood. Some real touch lessons. I would not take any of it back.

Great post and I loved the quote.

Your brother did know what he was doing :)

sol said...

....there are some that learn from those hard moments strengthening their resolve, and then there are those that shrivel and retreat further inside. I refuse to be the latter!

Stay strong! Thanks for stopping by Tabitha! :)

septembermom said...

A really great post sol. Thank you. I needed this reminder to get "tough" again and not let the battle take me over.


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