10-Minute Toughness

10-Minute Toughness

The Mental-Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins

Jason Selk

Summary in 100 words or less

Good nutrition, sleep, and relationships are the foundation of great performance. Successful people develop and maintain a solution-focus approach in everything they do. To become mentally tough, replace negative thinking with positive self-talk and visualization. Decide who you want to be and how you want to live—then, let the self-image guides your actions and behaviors. To make goal-setting more effective, focus on the process (instead of the result) and go public to keep yourself accountable.


My Highlights

Mental training, like physical training, can help athletes reach their ultimate goals. However, it’s essential for athletes to make good decisions off the field as well. Engaging in healthy relationships and having good nutrition and sleep habits are ever-important pieces of the puzzle. No matter how physically strong or mentally tough a person is, substance abuse is a major obstacle to success.

The field of sports psychology has identified self-efficacy (self-confidence) as the most influential mental variable in controlling performance. This means that if you have a strong belief in your ability to perform well, then the chances of your actually performing well greatly improve.

One trait that truly successful people have in common is that they have developed and maintained a solution-focused approach in their careers and in.

Don’t listen to what other people thought because that isn’t important. What is important is to focus on the process of success and what it will take to reach the goals.

Tips and hacks are like tools. Only when the mental strength is developed, individuals can readily decide what tools to call on for different situations.

Inhaling air into the diaphragm is a biological tool that helps control the heart rate. Taking a deep, centering breath allows individuals to keep their heart rate under control and perform at a more effective pace.

It is said that the average person has up to sixty thousand thoughts per day—that’s a lot of self-talk. The unfortunate thing about those thoughts is that the majority tend to embody self-doubt or negativity.

If we do not choose our thoughts carefully, they can (and many times do) have a negative impact on performance.

Extensive research in the sports psychology world confirms that an athlete’s internal dialogue significantly influences performance. Athletes who have negative self-talk will generally experience poor performance; conversely, when athletes keep their minds focused on positive performance cues, they are more likely to experience success.

The essence of mental toughness is the ability to replace negative thinking with thoughts that are centered on performance cues or that contribute to improved self-confidence. The more often negative thoughts are replaced with positive self-talk, the more successful and mentally tough a person will be.

Cognitive psychology has taught us that the mind can fully focus on only one item at a time. In short, if you are thinking about what is going wrong in your life, you cannot be thinking about what it takes to make it right.

Visualization is a powerful tool in athletics. According to some studies, in fact, every minute of visualization is worth seven minutes of physical practice.

By visualizing a positive emotional experience from your past, you, too, can learn to release endorphins into your bloodstream on a regular basis, which is very helpful for increasing your confidence and consistency.

Your self-image is essentially how you view yourself—what strengths and weaknesses you believe you possess. It has been demonstrated that what people believe they are capable of accomplishing largely determines how much they will actually accomplish.

Self-image is a proven agent of behavior control. When you truly believe in your ability, the self-image motivates the behaviors needed for you to live up to your expectations. You can’t outperform or underperform your self-image for long.

Self-image is internally constructed: we can decide how we view ourselves.

The key is to create the self-image desired—decided who you want to be and how you want to live­—and then continuously tell yourself that you have what it takes to be that person. The self-image will guide and direct actions and behaviors until the self-image becomes a reality.

The three concepts that turn ordinary goal setting into effective goal setting are these: (1) Process goals produce results, (2) No excuses; go public, (3) Keep goals alive, and live the dream.

If the motivation behind your selected goals is anything other than true passion and love, then the reward attached to their ultimate accomplishment will be irrelevant.

If you have set goals congruent with who you want to be and how you want to live, it will be much easier for you to muster the self-discipline essential for working through the tough times, and you will be much more likely to achieve great things.

Whatever a person chooses to do, there will be times when the commitment needed for greatness isn’t fun. Working hard is not always enjoyable, but if you love what you do, committing to hard work will be easier.

The way to tell if you’re giving 100 percent effort is to do everything you know you have to do to be your best. This doesn’t mean you train during every waking hour, day in and day out. For one thing, it’s necessary to incorporate rest into training cycles. What it does mean is that if you know of something that would help your training and competitive performance, you owe it to yourself to at least test it out.

It doesn’t always play out so neatly. There will be times when you try things that don’t do much for you. You have to keep an open mind and channel energy into researching ways to improve. Be willing to do everything that you think could help.

Rituals are the act of creating positive habits. Rituals occur when individuals connect positive behaviors to specific times, days, and dates.

For goals to work for you, you will have to work for them.

What the winning teams and players consciously or unconsciously understood was that success isn’t built on worrying about all the problems a supposedly superior opponent presents. Excellence is achieved through a solution-focused mind.

We, humans, are better at seeing problems than we are at seeing solutions. This itself is a problem, because what we dwell on expands. When we spend most of our lives thinking about problems, we heft an unnecessary weight onto our shoulders. Fortunately, we have the capacity to change. We are able to overcome our human tendency to continuously ruminate on problems and actually become solution-focused.

When we think about problems, our problems grow. When we think about solutions, our solutions grow. Thinking about solutions makes life much more enjoyable and allows us to become much more successful.

The solution does not need to produce perfection. It merely has to promote improvement.

+1 Concept: The idea that success can be achieved by meeting a string of basic, incremental goals in the present that will ultimately lead to excellence in the future.

Gradual improvement over time brings about vibrant and sustainable growth. We frequently get confounded by how much work it will take for our problems to be completely resolved. We become paralyzed, unable to take action toward improvement. You do not need to arrive at perfection; you need to slowly but surely make things better.

The first step to figuring out the “I don’t know” is to stop saying “I don’t know”.

Anytime you feel angry, sad, stressed, frustrated, or just generally uncomfortable, seek out and define the underlying problem. Keep it simple, spending as little time and energy as necessary on this step. Once you nail down what is causing you to feel uncomfortable, immediately make the shift to the solution side of the board by asking yourself what one thing you could do differently that could make things better.

An essential part of the process is to follow through with the solution. People tend to get roadblocked at the juncture of getting a solution on the board. If you do not put action into the solution, your problem is bound to linger.

Hang out with solution-focused people. Attitudes are contagious; people tend to take on the attitudes and actions of the individuals in their circle.

More book notes

David and Goliath
The Richest Man in Babylon
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Brain Rules
Awaken The Giant Within

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