A couple weeks ago, 17 steel poles broke near Teton Village in a winter storm.
Jackson Hole was closed for days.
The town declared a state of emergency...there was no way in and no way out.
This is the way of nature...and a great metaphor for your mental game and performance.
As martial artist and actor Bruce Lee puts it,
"The stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending in the wind."
And that's why I dislike the term mental toughness.
Mental toughness refers to being strong, hard and rigid.
This so called 'toughness' is actually quite fragile because it's breakable...with enough force you'll snap.
I believe mental toughness is a veneer term
...it's a cover to describe being supple, flexible and malleable.
But no one wants to talk about the softer side of mental toughness...maybe in fear of being perceived as weak?
Strength comes from letting go of being stiff and stuffy.
...the tougher and harder you are, the more defensive, insecure and isolated you become.
...the more open and honest you are, the more secure, fearless and better you become.
STRENGTH = SURRENDERING + SOFTENING
Stop trying to be mentally tough.
Start being mentally flexible.
By not being blinded by what you think will bring you happiness and high performance -like more accomplishments, winning, status, or a rock-hard body.
Rather than repeating the pleasures you already know, open up to the unknown.
It is here where we explore an endless source of possibilities and find our untapped potential.
...and isn't this what we all want?
...to live to our full potential!
An athlete of mine recently shared with me a story of Josh Waitzkin, chess and martial arts champion. In an one-hour interview at Google, Josh says what he's learned from years of studying champions is that those who are the most successful are expressing themselves most purely through their discipline.
Mentally flexibility, then, is giving yourself permission to unravel and understand your unique potential.
It's not about glossing over the losses and becoming more callused and mentally tough. Rather, as Josh puts it, it's the losses that define you.
It's giving yourself the time and space to learn how to be honest with yourself and to accept whatever may be happening on the surface.
Before moving on with your day, pause.
And remember to be flexible
...embracing the opportunity to grow when meeting a new challenge
...BENDING WITH THE WIND
...and excelling in the deepest and most profound ways.
In loving memory of Dawn Trent Banks