Building a Habit of Mental Toughness

I’ll often watch and draw wisdom from the following video of Cary Kolat discussing an encounter with a Mongolian wrestler who took an ice cold shower without flinching.

I’ll sometimes post some grandiose self-congratulating declaration on Facebook about my recent progress towards a goal. For example, I’ve been posting recently about the number of takedowns I got in training. I made a goal of getting 200 takedowns in 5 weeks.

These Facebook updates are a sign of my struggling to build a habit of a tough task. Once the habit is built, and it becomes part of my daily life, it no longer will be dramatic enough to  necessitate any kind of acknowledgement. I just do it, quietly, day after day. That’s what drilling has become for me. It’s a very taxing activity mentally and physically, but I got used to it.

I think that’s what mental toughness is. It’s not something you have to convince yourself of having in a sudden rush of motivation. It’s something you build slowly by doing a  challenging/uncomfortable task every day, day after day, without exceptions. It’s simple. Then the ice cold shower that Kolat talks about is no longer a surprise. It’s just a way of life, a welcome twist in our shot stint here on this little planet.

0 thoughts on “Building a Habit of Mental Toughness

  1. Jon

    That video is profound. Thank you for sharing it.

    I always try to associate a quote to whatever task or goal I’m shooting for in my training. Last month it was drilling the standard triangle/armbar/omoplata transition 500 times per side. The quote I associated it with was from Thoreau.

    “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

    It kept me grounded. And it got me through. Thanks again for the video.

    1. Lex Post author

      Wow, strong quote. Thanks for that. It makes it clear just how finite our life is, and that we ought to try to get the most of the time we have.

  2. Jay

    Nice video. I think I’m going to repost it for a few guys at my gym. They like to compete and perhaps this will give them some food for thought.


    1. Lex Post author

      That’s a very good number and a great thing to drill, but you have to be very careful to keep great form. I think it’s sometimes easy to forget how complex each of those three techniques are.


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