I have always considered myself to be a mentally tough person throughout my life.  It’s a very important trait to have, whether in sports or within a person’s personal journey.  This is why I try to instill being mentally tough into my students, players, and my own children.  However, recently I found myself not practicing what I have been preaching due to a situation going on in my life.  I felt like I was failing and questioning if I was competent enough to make the right decisions — essentially, I was feeling sorry for myself and instead of working to find a solution.

Last week I came across an article by Louis Chew entitled, “You Need Mental Toughness to Stay Bulletproof In Life. Here’s How to Build It.”  As I read the article, I began to realize that I’m handling my tough situation all wrong.  Instead of doubting my decisions and beliefs, I should be practicing the skill of being mentally tough.

Throughout the article, Chew describes what being mentally tough encompasses.  The one aspect that stuck out to me was the section in his article called “Reframe Negative Events.”   This section discusses how mentally tough people should respond to failure.  The author writes, “Mentally strong people don’t see failure as a mortal blow.  Rather, they brush it off as a bruise and continue forging ahead.  They know that failure is feedback, and not a condemnation of their abilities. It’s nothing personal.”

After reading the article, I said to myself that my failures will not define me.  How we respond to those tough situations will define our identity.  We should welcome the option of failure because in the end, we will become wiser, build solid character traits within ourselves, and most importantly, strengthen an important skill of being mentally tough.

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