If you’ve known me at all over the years, you know I frequently talk about how vital it is to have a strong mind. This post offers no advice. It’s simply an ode to the characteristic I respect most in human beings.
During my MLB career, I paid close attention to the psyche of the men with whom I stood shoulder to shoulder. I watched as they fell and stayed down, or picked themselves back up. Baseball is a game of failure, and, of all the major team sports, none demand a more powerful mind. It is required simply for survival.
As I sat back and watched these men take their swings, it occurred to me having the game come easily was not indicative of owning a strong mind. It was the men who had something going on upstairs to overcome who were the toughest mentally.
Bill Mueller, my teammate in 2003 and 2004, had thoughts percolating constantly and wrestled vigorously with demons at the plate. Bill stepped out, told said demons to fuck off, took a deep breath, got back in the box and lined a double off the Green Monster on his way to winning a batting title. Tell me that he’s not a mental warrior.
Of course, having both is ideal, but if given the choice, I’ll select the strong mind over the strong body without blinking.
In our workouts, it enables us to gather the wherewithal to take down another set or rep. At the grocery store, it inspires us to make decisions conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It’s the backbone of confidence, the core of character. At every turn, we are challenged at work and in relationships. We either react emotionally or allow our rational, sound deliberation to guide how we navigate our various interactions.
The more robust our mindset, the better equipped we are to handle the world’s hecklers, trolls and slugs.
From Martin Farquhar Tuppe:
Ridicule is a weak weapon when pointed at a strong mind; but common people are cowards and dread an empty laugh.
What are you doing to sharpen up?