Success starts with having the right mindset. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to qualify for regionals, start a successful business, or coach a team to a world championship; the psychological principles always remain the same. Mediocre performers quit long before they ever reach their goals and dreams. They allow fear and self-doubt to prevent them from achieving their highest potential. The common denominator amongst the failures is a lack of mental strength and a stagnant mindset.
Mental resilience is not about winning; it’s about not quitting.
While mental resilience may often appear to be inherent in top performers, it’s actually a set of skills and tools that anyone can learn.
The best and the recent example to relate to would be Roger Federer’s stunning performance in the Wimbledon. It was an awesome display of mental resilience and determination in the face of huge psychological pressure.
Roger’s mental resilience has been an exception in an otherwise mentally very strong career. Federer has combined a high level of self-belief with an ability to recover swiftly from defeat. His 2008 US Open triumph, for example, came just a few months after the toughest loss of his career against Rafa at Wimbledon. He’s also displayed formidable grit and stamina in tough matches – take his epic 2009 win over Andy Roddick at Wimbledon as a case in point.
Roger’s mental strength is not a natural gift, but a learned skill. In his early career, Federer struggled with anger on the court and often lacked concentration. Temper tantrums and racket throwing were commonplace for the future great, from boyhood right up to his breakthrough year of 2001. At the Hamburg Masters event that year, Federer smashed his racket shortly after losing to Italian journeyman Franco Squillari. That loss proved a psychological turning point.
Federer realized after that match; that his struggle with difficult emotions was holding him back from reaching his potential. He resolved to change. The cool, calm and collected Federer that we know today was born here.
Federer says that he ‘was always trying to play the ball and not the opponent. He just told himself he has to really, really fight’. This approach worked. He stayed in present and focused, and didn’t engage with the inevitable doubts and memories he would have experienced.
Federer has acknowledged that his mental progress did not come easy. He had to work really hard for this. He acknowledges whatever learning process he went through it was the catalyst that enabled him to become the truly great player he is today. What has been most impressive is his approach and his ability to maintain a positive attitude despite a nearly five-year Grand Slam drought and the heartache of losing to Djokovic in three consecutive Slam finals.
These traits are equally applicable in our corporate athletism. Mental resilience combined with the not giving up attitude are two key traits to be honed by professionals for success. With these traits, you will go far in whatever you choose to do whether it’s in your personal or professional life. Being resilient can prevent or minimize the effects of demanding and challenging environments. It involves being able to recover from significant challenges, difficulties, and setbacks and then use these for learning and personal growth in the workplace.
Written By Faber Mayuri Pandya