It seems like all athletes want to be mentally tough and think that tougher is better. Coaches are always preaching about how to develop mental toughness and how people need to “toughen up.” I agree that you need a strong mind to become a top CrossFitter. But, how you think about mental toughness, might actually be HOLDING YOU BACK.
Mental toughness is often associated with
- The refusal to give in
- Pushing through tough situations
- Psychological or emotional resilience
- Being strong-willed
I think there is a huge misconception out there. I actually try to never use the saying ‘mental toughness’, as I’d rather talk about purpose and strength. I will help you become tougher and stronger…but not in the way you may expect.
To make what could be a very long post/rant a bit shorter, let me give you these few pieces of advice
It is not cool, helpful or good for you to
- Be stubborn
- Pretend you have no emotions – fears, concerns, emotional-pain, sadness, stress, worry, doubt, issues
- Act fearless or like nothing bothers you
- Try to push through everything and anything by hiding it, not talking about it, covering it up, acting like you don’t feel it or like it doesn’t hurt (especially emotional stuff)
- Always be on the grind – thinking you have to do more, more is better, and feeling like you have something to prove
*Note to coaches: We need to be especially careful and make sure that we don’t teach an unhealthy type of “mental toughness” to kids/youth
Mental strength comes from persevering and learning how to best get through incredibly tough situations.
You’ve gotta learn what works for you and then attack the uncomfortable regularly.
Strength comes from pursuing your goals, overcoming obstacles, asking for help, and doing whatever is uncomfortable for you. You can’t just push yourself “harder” in the gym. You actually gotta face the tough stuff in life and work through ALL challenges that come your way.
The better you are at facing discomfort in ALL areas of your life, the better you’ll be at CrossFit. Plain and simple.
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