Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.
~ Bill Russell
Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.
~ Bobby Knight
Every quarterback can throw a ball; every running back can run; every receiver is fast; but that mental toughness that you talk about translates into competitiveness.
~ Tom Brady
I enjoy running for exercise, especially in the early mornings. I find it is a good time to listen to books, a podcast, music, or to just be quiet and disconnect. I also have found running to be a good test of mental strength. Conquering the hill or the final mile is sometimes more about mental toughness than physical stamina.
I was intrigued by a recent article in Runner’s World about brain endurance training. In the article, the author, Alex Hutchinson, shares his experience participating in a “brain training” academic research project by Samuel Marcora of the University of Kent. In the article, Mr. Hutchinson shares his experience of going through daily mental exercises on a computer to strengthen his ability to focus and reduce perceived effort in order to increase endurance. If you’re interested in learning more check out the full article here.
Possibly because I read the Runner’s World article, I began to notice advertisements for a company called Lumosity. Referred to on the site as The Human Cognition Project, the organization purports to help improve attention, memory, flexibility, speed, and problem solving through its brain training exercises. I signed up for Lumosity (it’s free) and checked out some of the games. I see the similarities to the concepts taught in the Runner’s World article. I don’t have enough experience with the site to actually recommend it, but if you’re interested in learning more you may want to check it out.
Why am I talking about brain training? One of the principles of greatness is mental toughness. I’m always interested in learning how to improve mental toughness and I’m intrigued by the idea of modern research providing tools and frameworks to help in this area. I encourage you to explore ways you can improve your own mental toughness. Sports and exercise is always a good place to start. For advanced training, you may want to check out sites similar to the ones I’ve shared above.
Choose to be mentally tough.