How do I Build Mental Toughness as an Athlete?

While we love the strategy and excitement of the “physical” game, it’s the “mental” game that really inspires and captivates us to understand the mental mindset and abilities that turn ordinary people into extreme sport athletes and adventurers.

Mental Toughness

Here at WFO, we are massive extreme sports’ fans. From motocross to skateboarding, mountaineering or skydiving and even Xpogo, extreme is in our blood. While we love the strategy and excitement of the “physical” game, it’s the “mental” game that really inspires and captivates us to understand the mental mindset and abilities that turn ordinary people into extreme sport athletes and adventurers.


Because it’s the mental strength coupled with determination that the greatest athletes use to overcome incredible failures, pain and other obstacles to reach the highest levels of humankind.



Talent Does Not Equal Success  – Work Ethic Does

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” — Muhammad Ali

What the best of the best have in common, regardless of what sport they are completing in? They work harder than everyone else and spend the most time training and practicing – mentally, emotionally, physically, regardless of their talent. Many top athletes are not even talented – they just work harder than everyone else. 

It’s really simple: Try to outwork and outsmart everyone else. 

Others may have more money, natural-born talent or connections, but if you work both harder and smarter than others by making the most of everything you have, you find yourself ahead of  the pack. 

Most athletes lean on their physical traits and gifts, and are able to get by on that. But every single legend in every sport always go above and beyond. Talent has laments. With incredible work ethic, there is no limit.


 Feelings Don’t Matter – Actions Do

“People hear about when you break something or something major happens, but they don’t hear about the every day grind that goes into playing that much. You maybe feel healthy for 20 per cent of your season, and the other 80 per cent you’re grinding and trying to find a way to make it through the game or make it into the game.” —Ryan Suter


For most people, their emotions and feelings control their lives. 

  • “I don’t feel like working out today. I’m too tired.”
  • “I’m done. I don’t feel like I am getting better.”
  • “I don’t feel motivated today, one more day off won’t hurt.”

It was easy, everyone would do it. Do the work; be an action taker. 

There are more times than we would like to admit when we don’t want to work on our projects, goals, or exercise. But being consistent – when you don’t feel like it – is the key to becoming successful. 

Another way to think of it is this: It does not matter as much how you perform when things are going good; it’s how you perform when things are not ideal that separates you from the pack.

At the end of the day, what separates the best elite athletes from mediocre ones is the elite will always find a way to give their absolute best, no matter how much they are struggling, how exhausted, or whatever other issues they are going through. They show up and do the work no matter what. 


Make the Most of Every Day

“Make each day your masterpiece.” — John Wooden

While we are on the topic of elite athletes versus mediocre ones, let’s dig into that a little more. 

The biggest thing between the two is that the elite athletes are intentional with every day/ What does that mean? It means everything they do has one purpose: 

  • Become their best.

They eat and sleep with purpose, and will spend several hours daily with strong and intentional training. 

You’ll most likely have the goal and intention to change your life in some way. Working out and getting stronger, or leveling within your sport or activity. But ask yourself: “does my daily actions align with what I ‘want’?”

Most of the time, you realize that if you really want to get fit, to get better at something, you need to take that goal a lot more seriously and be more intentional with your work. You don’t get your days back, so you better start using each one to get to where you want to be – every single day. 

We can guarantee, living this way will make a huge difference in my life.


Get Crazy Confident in Yourself

“When you have a lot of confidence, and you feel like nobody can beat you, it’s game over for everyone else.” – Jason Day

People may not believe in you, think your goals are too “out there” or that you just are talented or skilled enough to reach them. Some of those people might be close to you, and people that you value your confide in.

That can hurt and make you doubt yourself, in those moments with zero support, encouragement, or mentors. 

But in those moments, you cannot, under any circumstances, lose your faith that you are destined for something bigger. 


The answer is simple. 

Why the hell not?



Success is a Function of Belief

A common theme you’ll start to notice with many top athletes across the athletic world is that they have a damn-near delusional belief in themselves. That’s not to say they are all cocky and arrogant, but it means that even when no one believes them and when the odds are against them, they will still believe they can succeed. And that, right there, is what makes them unstoppable. 

It probably seems unrealistic or that you are setting yourself up for failure to think like that, but that is ultimately what sets them onto the path of success. 

Success always believes in the mind. If you believe you can’t do something, you most likely won’t be able to. And if you do truly believe it, that’s where things start to open up in your favor. 


If you believe in yourself and go WIDE OPEN, you’ll find out that great things can happen.

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