Although you might not need to demonstrate mental toughness on the athletic field, you need mental strength to be a champion at whatever it is you do in life. Whether you're an accountant gearing up for the busy tax season, or you're the CEO of a successful company, your brain can be your best asset or your worst enemy.
Here are six actions that will train your brain to perform at your peak:
Stay Process Focused . The process includes all the small things you need to do to reach your goals or become the best at your craft. The worlds best spend 95% of their attention focused on the process and in the present. They drift their attention to the outcome and the future only to stay motivated and excited. This is called the 95/5% rule. Because when we spend too much time focused on the outcome, we experience anxiety, stress and pressure. When we stay focused on the present and the process, we can do anything and be anything we desire.
Let Go Quickly . The best athletes have a short-term memory of their mistakes and a long-term memory of their successes. The elites intentionally savour the great moments to experience them fully, and they let go of the errors quickly.
Expect Adversity . The best athletes that can sustain high levels of performance realize that adversity helps them grow and learn. The best believe that adversity happens for them, not to them. They don't view adversity and setbacks with a victim approach; instead, they realize they are in control of how they respond to the difficulty or situation. They expect problems to happen and plan for things to go wrong so they can remain in control under pressure.
Dominate the controllable . Elite athletes stay focused on what they can control, which includes everything inside themselves, such as their attitude, attention, actions, passion, preparation, purpose, emotions, and effort. Their focus is not on things they cannot control, such as weather, refs, coaches, and haters. They dominate the controllable. When they find their attention on what they cannot control, they quickly shift their attention to what they can control. I believe that for every minute, elite athletes focus on what they cannot control; they are in the league for one less minute. Concentrate on the uncontrollable leads to frustration, blame and low performance. Dominating the controllable leads to high performance.
Believe in Your Purpose . The best know and understand their purpose. They realize they are here for something bigger, and they live their mission on the field or court. They believe their purpose is beyond themselves, and this inspires them every day. They own their purpose by reminding themselves of it every day to stay motivated and connected to their sport and life.
Own the Moment . The best understand that their best can only happen in the present moment, not if their mind is focused in the past or the future. They practice intentional strategies to live and play in the present moment. They can shift their focus to the present moment quickly and have a daily practice(s) (i.e., meditation, mindfulness, etc.) to train their current moment focus.