Mental toughness

Published August 29th, 2014 by Frank

Each time I ponder the depths of my mental toughness, I like to imagine what it would be like to swim across an entire ocean.  After fully exerting my physical capabilities, and maintaining my composure throughout calm and choppy seas, there would be an inevitable juncture where I would reach my breaking point and succumb to the swirling tides beneath me.  Youur mental fortitude is what determines how much further you are able to swim and how much more pain you will endure, long after your physical energy has been exhausted.  Your mind is a powerful weapon, and should be used as a tool to aid you in the pursuit of your goals.

In my own personal experience, maintaining my mental toughness has been the ultimate catalyst, propelling me from an 8th place finish in my freshman year at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, to winning a National Title my senior year, while I had a torn MCL. Unlike athletic ability, mental toughness is not something you are born with, so it must be constantly cultivated and developed to become an asset.

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It has taken many years of training to bring my mind in sync with my body, in order to overcome the obstacles life has thrown my way.  Whether I am in the gym or at practice, I am persistently training my mind.  I constantly create hypothetical battles or adverse situations in my head where I am forced to either become mentally tougher and succeed, or accept the alternative and fail. In certain cases I will try to create a workout that I know will physically break my body, and then rise to the challenge of testing my mental resiliency.  I take these personal challenges very seriously, and credit them with providing me the extra fuel in the tank when I am competing.

On any given day in practice, I may be physically thinking, “My neck is pretty banged up, I should probably sit out this next drill.” To combat this and test my mental durability, I would motivate myself like this: “Thirty seconds left in the drill, if you don’t get two more takedowns before the clock runs out, you will lose the NCAA Finals!!”  This is exactly what I am referring to when I speak about how mental toughness can propel you to success against an opponent.

During your next workout, I challenge you to create a situations like I just mentioned in your head, to push the limits of your comfort zone, begin cultivating your mental toughness, and challenge yourself to succeed through adversity. Look no further than the harsh aftermath of failure, because once you have felt that pain, the reality is you will never want to feel it again. Whether you are at work trying to climb the ladder in your profession or in the gym trying to set new personal records, mental toughness will be a cornerstone to your success. Constantly assess and build on your mental strength and you will become more efficient each day, and constantly progress forward towards your goals.

I join this challenge with you and would love to hear your feedback on the situations where you have used your mental toughness to ascend towards your goals. When I am at the Olympic Trials, and my neck hurts or any other possible issue arises, will I sit out? Absolutely not.  Stop complaining, remember your training both physical and mental, and get out there.

Gotta Want It!

- Frank Molinaro



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