Chapter 5: Mental Toughness from the book “Sports & Stocks” by Bud Labitan
Mental toughness is a measure of individual resilience and confidence that may predict success in sports, investing, education, and work. Mental toughness and focus are a set of attributes that allow a person to become a better athlete and and a better investor. It takes self-discipline to cope with difficult training and difficult competitive situations without losing confidence. I like to think that running Cross Country and Track in High School gave me more mental toughness and perseverance. I believe that this also helped me learn to pace myself, and exercise patience.
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Sports & Stocks by Bud Labitan
In recent years, the term mental toughness has been commonly used by coaches, sport psychologists, sports commentators, and business leaders. Along with mental toughness, consider the idea of mental flexibility. Mental flexibility is the ability to keep an open mind and learn new things.
While "Mental toughness" refers to positive attributes that helps a person to cope with difficult situations, consider the idea of mental efficiency. Mental Efficiency is similar to good time management. To me, it means the use of our time to focus on the things that really matter in making a good decision.
Coaches use the term mental toughness to describe the mental state of athletes who persevere through difficult sport circumstances. Likewise, good preparation helps the athlete and the investor lessen the difficulties of running a play or making a challenging decision.
The great Basketball player Michael Jordan always prepared himself for game battle. He said: “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-Six, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Each meaningful event can lead us to improve our performance. Famous Basketball Coach John Wooden said: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” And “It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
Does competition have to be stressful? "Hans" Selye, was a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist. He conducted important scientific work on the hypothetical non-specific response of an organism to stressors. Dr. Selye said: “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
Consider this similar quote from Dale Carnegie: “Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”
Then, back to investing and attitude, note what Warren Buffett said: “Our advantage, is attitude: we learned from Ben Graham that the key to successful investing was the purchase of shares in good businesses when market prices were at a large discount from underlying business values. When you invest, focus on your circle of competence. Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management, and limited exposure to hard times.”
Buffett has gone on to say: “Keep it simple. Value Investing ideas seem so simple and commonplace. It seems like a waste of time to go to school and get at PhD, and having someone tell you the ten commandments are all that matter. An investor cannot obtain superior profits from stocks by simply committing to a specific investment category or style. He or she can earn them only by carefully evaluating facts and continuously exercising discipline.”
So, if you keep things simple, carefully evaluate the important facts, and continuously exercise discipline, you can make your process a bit easier and have a bit more fun.