The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

I confess, I came this close to flaking out on you.

For many of you, our relationship started at last year’s Mental Toughness Summit. I had plans to make it an annual event but when April rolled around this year, I was overcome by overwhelm and inertia everytime I thought about putting together another Summit.

Then synchronicity intervened.

One of my former clients introduced me to the work of Dr. Les Fehmi, the author of Open Focus. I had a serendipitous conversation with an old friend which led to a meeting with Paul Sullivan, a New York Times columnist and author of Choke: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t. And, in re-connecting over a Central Park run and green juice with Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why and one of the awe-inspiring speakers from last year’s Summit – I was reminded of my why.

So the balance tipped. I went from feeling lethargic and unmotivated to inspired and energized. I remembered why I was so excited to launch this event and why I wanted to help people learn how to develop the skills of mental toughness, especially under extreme pressure. How to develop:

* The kind of self-belief that basketball star Jeremy Lin showed in going from the D-League to leading the Knicks on a winning streak.

* The kind of perseverance that 9-year-old Caine Munroy showed in building his elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store.

* The kind of resilience that tech entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky demonstrated in raising a record $7.1 million through crowd-sourcing — after hearing tons of no’s from potential investors.

On the flip side, as a society, we’re more anxious and fearful than ever: “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s,” says psychologist Robert Leahy. Lured by technology, we’re disengaged from our surroundings, our attention spans are shrinking and our listening skills are practically non-existent.

We live in exciting times

It’s the worst of times, where access to information is constant and unlimited and and we care too much what people think about us. And it’s the best of times, where the power of self-belief and human cooperation can take us farther than ever before.

As Wayne Dyer says: “When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.”

It’s up to us to decide what we’re made of.

The Mental Toughness Summit interviews now have a home on the Mental Toughness for Mavericks podcast.

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