"Your thoughts are always fighting for your attention, and the thoughts you give your attention to are going to influence your emotions and behaviors. It's like a boxing match. 'Fighting out of this corner is useful thoughts, and in this corner you have useless thoughts'.
- Useless thoughts are irrational, over-pessimistic, and demotivating.
- Useful thoughts are rational, cautiously optimistic, and they're motivating.
Now, boxing matches have a referee and 3 judges. The referee manages the fighters and the judges pick the winner. When your thoughts are battling for attention, you're both the referee and the judge. You manage your thoughts and you pick the winners.
You're going to feel your thoughts long before you process them, so you've got to stop and think about what you're feeling. The best way to manage your thoughts is to label your thoughts.
- Is this a rational or irrational thought?
- Is this an overly pessimistic or cautiously optimistic thought?
- Is this a useful or useless thought?
Once you've thought about your feelings and labeled your thoughts, you can pick the winners. It's your choice and you can choose between useful or useless thoughts. This is what mental toughness is all about. Mental toughness isn't your ability to cope with useless thoughts. It's your ability to manage and pick your more useful thoughts.
When you live and lead through challenging times, useless thoughts are going to be thrown a whole lot more punches. You've got to block them and counterpunch with more useful thinking. That's the mental toughness you can develop in yourself and you can coach into your team."
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