Mental Toughness

What’s up guys Adrian Conway here and this is a brute shoot! It feels good for me to say that because it’s been a very long time since we’ve buckled down and gotten to a series of videos again that aim to inspire and educate the community, but we’re back again and I couldn’t be happier.

What we’re gonna do is kick off this new series with something specifically speaking to mindset and the reason that we’re going to focus on mindset for the next small series of brute shoots is because it plays such an integral role in training and essentially what the vast majority of you that are watching this video hope to achieve. 

That could be within the means of the four walls of a gym, it could be outside at a sanctioned event, or it could be a local competition. It could also be in many aspects outside in your day-to-day life that is going to transform into relationships that are going to transform into the way that you perform at work and essentially what you aim to achieve when it comes to legacy.

Legacy is a big word. Legacy is something that creates a lot of pressure on people, like what am I going to leave behind. Your mindset, your mentality and more specifically your ability to be mentally tough are gonna dictate a lot of your success in each and every one of those avenues so this is where we’re gonna start.

What is mental toughness? Well, I’m gonna be biased. I’m gonna give you guys an example that’s very personal to me. Something very near and dear to my heart and I’m sure I’ve shared this with some of you in the community that are gonna care to watch this and care to apply it to your life in some way shape or form, but to me, mental toughness is essentially having the ability to make hard right decisions over easy wrong decisions.

Now that sounds very simple but it’s very complex when we look at it from a day-to-day perspective and from an individual-based perspective. It is very diverse in regards to what that looks like for you, what that looks like for me and what that looks like for Stacy in my class. 

What I hope to do, especially over the next three to four videos or however many this series builds out is to describe exactly what I believe mental toughness is, and how we can look at it from a perspective and then build upon it. So I want to leave you guys with an ability to take a look at your own personal life, have some applicable things that you can start to transform, start to practice, and start to actually see manifest themselves so that you know that you’re actually taking those steps to be not just someone who’s definitively mentally tough but mentally tougher. 

Mentally resilient would actually be a more appropriate way to categorize what I’m referring to. Aside from having the ability to make hard right decisions over easy wrong decisions, resilience is someone or something that fosters a mentally resilient presence. 

First of all, what I want you to know is that mental resilience is not. A lot of people have this facade of mental toughness and they see whoever wins the CrossFit Games. Specific to the community that I’m addressing now, a lot of you will look up to Matt Fraser Tia, Katrin Davidsdottir, Rich Froning, Brent Fikowski Kara Saunders, Haley Adams, or Dallin Pepper. 

I’m throwing you a few of these specific Brutes because I’ve gotten to see them work, and see them train. While I’m gonna support the notion that these people are mentally tough, what they do physically on the floor even in training doesn’t necessarily reflect their mental toughness. These people spend a lifetime building capacity because in any given instance, in any given workout they make the choice to pick up the barbell sooner than you, are sooner than their opponent. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re just mentally tougher right? Their ability to perform under pressure doesn’t necessarily mean that they have mental toughness. 

Maybe they’re so ignorant to the stage that they’re on, or the opportunity that they have, that they throw the anxiety, the anticipation and sometimes the hesitation that a lot of us might have to the wayside simply because they don’t understand what’s happening. I’m not saying this is the case for any of those athletes but it could be the case so what we need to focus more on is less about that physical capacity, and more on their ability to make those hard rights decisions over easy wrong ones on a day-in and day-out basis.

Now, the first thing that we need to understand about being mentally resilient or mentally tough is that you have to have purpose right? There’s a great book called Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck. Most Brute Strength Athletes have been recommended this book time and time again. I read it a few years ago understanding that to seek growth is a choice and it is a choice that you layer into anything and everything that you do. 

It’s a huge part of being mentally tough and the reason is that a truly mentally tough person is someone that’s seeking to be more mentally resilient. It is someone who understands that what they’re seeking growth in or what their goal is non-transactional right? When you have the ability to understand that when I show up to the gym today, although my goal is to win the CrossFit Games, I might not always be packing on pounds under my clean-and-jerk. I might not always be taking fractions of a second off of my 100-meter dash.

When you understand that the time you put in isn’t always what you expect it to be, or isn’t always based on the results that you’re going to get directly back is a key component in building mental resilience and it’ because you are the person that’s going to have the ability to walk into the gym and not end up being terribly discouraged when your expectations aren’t met.

This means that you don’t give up and simply refocus on what tomorrow needs to be and what tomorrow can bring for you as an opportunity to seek that growth. So understanding that this non-transactional relationship is going to protect your hearth and mind from both external expectations that can act as setbacks or make you completely walk away from something in regards to pursuing your big goal.

The next thing is understanding that when you have that growth mindset, you understand that you’re going to make the hard rights over the easy wrongs. It’s your ability to do that in every phase of your life. Someone who’s mentally tough does everything the same way that they do anything. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but I believe that this is something that resonates with tremendous truth and it doesn’t really matter what you’re pursuing.

If I can show you an athlete who wakes up in the morning and spends the time to be detail-oriented enough to make their bed and make sure that they’re actually structuring their day or they have a plan and they aren’t just flying by the seam of their pants but are building this consistency. That’s how you build upon mental resiliency and mental toughness. 

This is simply a foundation but it’s something that we’ve got to walk away from this Brute Shoot understanding that we’re not going to wake up today and be like, “cool I’m gonna be mentally tough today.” That’s not how it works and it’s going to take months or years for some you. And for others, it might take weeks to start to at least even envision what it’s going to look like to build on the mental toughness, mental tenacity, mental resilience or whatever you want to call it in your personal life that’s going to allow you to excel and reach your goals in the future. 

My goal over these next few weeks is to talk about specifics that you can apply in your day-to-day life, relationships and what you can apply more specifically in your training, nutrition, sleep, and recovery regimen that’s going to allow you to become more mentally tough.

We know that it’s going to be the difference in what separates you from being where you’re at to meeting the goals that you have both in and out of the gym in hopes of leaving a legacy here on this earth that we’re fortunate enough to hare a short amount of time together.