Mental toughness with Jaden and Alyse
I am excited. My new novel, FracMan Conflicted, is being printed. Release date is March 2020 by Deep River Books. Here is a short review by Brian Morrison of Albuquerque, New Mexico:
After all these years I finally have an idea what fracking really is, and the correlation to earthquakes. With the wonderful love story aside, I enjoyed the engineering behind fracking and the inherent dangers from blowouts and explosions. It had an uplifting spiritual side to the story as well, which made me reconsider my lack of faith in God. Kelly is intelligent and forward thinking, and it was fascinating to see how she dealt with hardship in her personal life while determined to move up in an industry dominated by men.
Jaden McGrath is my grandson and lives in Independence, Kansas. A senior in high-school, he is point-guard for the Independence Bulldogs. Last week I watched him play against Parsons. The local school gym was pretty full, typical of a small-town sporting event on a Friday evening. Everyone goes to the event and everyone knows everyone.
Jaden got off to a good start, shooting two threes. But then Parsons put their best defender on him, and this guy was tough and he was good. I don’t know his name but let’s call him 23. As 23 defended Jaden — with hands in his face and trying to steal the ball – it was a real tussle and great fun to watch.
Then a thought crossed my mind. “Jaden, you can take him.” Several times after this, Jaden brought the ball down, shadowed by 23. One time Jaden faked a run, stopped, faked again, stopped, then did a full-turn to slip in front of 23, and took off for the basket with 23 in hot pursuit. It was a beautiful move and intense one-on-one basketball.
Parsons won the game after Independence were up by three at three-quarter time. But I got to thinking about Jaden’s attitude. Against the toughest defender on the opposing team, he could have been intimidated. He could have had self-doubts. He could have wilted under the pressure. But no. Jaden took the guy on. He was determined to succeed, he had fire in his belly, and he played fierce basketball. I was very proud of Jaden – best I’ve seen him play by far.
My five-year old niece, Alyse, sat on top of the long slippery-dip water slide in Glenelg, Australia, and started crying. Self-doubt crept in and she became afraid. I was next in line and wanted to help. But the sign said singles only, so I couldn’t hold her and slide down with her. I encouraged her as best I could with words, and she finally pushed off, gathered speed, and hit the water with a big splash. Her family cheered.
To this day I feel remorse. I should have ignored the sign and jumped in behind Alyse and wrapped my arms around her little waist and pushed off.
But wait… Scott Peck, in one of my top-ten books called The Road Less Traveled, said if you continue to drive your son to school instead of letting him take the bus, his growth and maturing will be stunted in this area of life.
Love is the will to nurture the spiritual growth of another person.
Peck’s statement speaks about allowing new or different, and sometimes scary, experiences as a way to grow. And for a parent to encourage his or her child to grow is a form of love.
Post-script. Alyse has grown into a stable and responsible adult. She has excelled in sports, gained a university degree, and has a steady job as a physiotherapist. She has one remarkable character trait – perseverance. She never gives up. Who knows… maybe she started learning this through her tears on the slippery slide in Glenelg way back when she was five.
I asked a few people what they thought mental toughness is.
Kelby said, “Being able to maintain your composure during the ups and downs.”
Kim said, “Will power.”
Don said, “Seeing hard things through. Not losing hope or sight of the goal. Enduring mental and physical pain with a thankful heart. Tenacity.”
Mary Ann said, “Being smart.”
The Gray Nomad said: “Fire in your belly.”
Then I googled on mental toughness:
A measure of individual resilience and confidence that may predict success in sport, education and the workplace. (Wikipedia.)
The ability to resist, manage and overcome doubts, worries, concerns and circumstances that prevent you from succeeding. (Mental Toughness, Inc.)
Somewhere I heard that self-doubt is the opposite of mental toughness. A respected therapist and spiritual guide suggests how to deal with self-doubt by talking to it in the following way (this is an adaptation of what he says):
Oh, you are here again. I know that you travel with me wherever I go. But I also know I have positive gifts and am loved. And I trust these things, so I’m not going to let you stop me.
I used to try to conquer or hide you – like locking you out of my house. But every time you’d come back and I’d give you a place in the living room. And I’d feed you a fine meal.
But now I’m giving you only slight attention. Instead of the living room, you get the closet in the attic. Instead of a fine meal, you get a cheese sandwich.
I know that when I learn to befriend you, I see my true, authentic self, and I also rediscover that I am talented and loveable.
The therapist is Robert J. Wicks, and his marvelous little book is called Streams of Contentment.
If mental toughness is resilience and confidence that can improve the chance of success in sports, it clearly can have application to other venues in life, like school and work.
Self-doubt can short-circuit mental toughness. But one respected therapist reveals a self-talk trick to lessen the power of self-doubts.
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