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Mental Toughness Training For Urban Dwellers

Posted by: Dr. Granat on January 10, 2008

Just in case you haven’t noticed, New York City is a fast paced and highly
competitive place. It’s expensive, edgy, demanding, challenging and at times a bit
unkind and hostile.

Competition is everywhere. Watch the way traders compete in the pits
on Wall Street. It is combat.

When you need a cab in Midtown on a cold and rainy day, you had better
be assertive and be on your “A” game. Otherwise, you will be stranded on a corner
with wet shoes and drenched hair.

Sinatra was right. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

But what does it take to succeed, excel and win in this demanding venue?

I teach many of my patients the same kind of mental toughness skills that I have
taught the world class athletes who I counsel. Many people benefit from viewing their
life in the big city as a game, a challenge or as a contest in which the strongest, the
smartest and the ones who want success the most survive and rise to the top.

I show people how to be get into the zone. They discover what they need to do
to be confident, relaxed, focused, optimistic and resilient. They master the art
of performing well when the pressure is on.

For many years, I have tested and measured the connection between a person’s
mental thoughts and their physical strength. I use a dynamometer which measures
the power in their hands. Almost everybody gets stronger when they think powerful,
hopeful and energized thoughts. Conversely, they get weaker when they flood their
minds with weak thoughts and ideas about their inadequacies and weaknesses.

While many patients need support, a place to vent and tender loving care from
their therapist, others need encouragement and direct and blunt advice.
Go for it. Just Do it. Life is short. Take a chance. What have you got to lose? Aren’t
you tired of being abused by your lover, your boss and your friends?

As I heard George Foreman, the former boxing champion and highly successful
entrepreneur say at a recent lecture, “When you are down, just get up. Just get up.”

A salesman who I treated, started to be much more successful once he began
to view himself as a road warrior.

A shy man felt his confidence soar when I suggested that he see how many

women could reject his dinner invitations in a month.

A female attorney started to get comfortable in front of juries when she
overcame of fear of public speaking and started to look upon herself as a tiger
in the courtroom.

A golfer who I counseled was very successful at winning tournaments because
he believed he was the ball and that he could will the ball to do anything he wanted
to do. He was brash, arrogant and unflappable.

Mental toughness also includes being resilient. I have taught this concept to my
children. From an early age, I used to remind them that members of the Granat
family never quit.

Mental toughness also includes risk taking. I remind patients that “When
you go to an amusement park, you can ride the merry go round or the roller

People always feel better when they are growing, taking charge of their
lives and doing what they might be afraid of.

Some years ago, I entered several stand up comedy contests and I also
did a little boxing. I still reflect on these experiences and revisit the good feelings
experienced during these adventures. It gives me a great sense of empowerment,
joy and mental toughness.

Revisit your empowering moments and you, too, will discover some of
your own mental toughness.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, New Jersey and the
Founder of

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