1-Sentence-Summary: Chasing Excellence breaks down how world-class athletes achieve the mental strength they need to succeed, highlighting the steps required to achieve toughness, build resilience, and always push your limits for a purpose.
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Athletes are so much more than just performers who train, eat, and carry out their physical activities well. Mental toughness is the most important aspect of becoming a top worldwide athlete. In fact, mental strength is what separates champions from the pack.
It’s what allows them to push themselves beyond their limits and bounce back from failure. Mental toughness is about more than just being able to avoid distractions and focus on the task at hand—it’s about building resilience and always pushing your limits for a purpose.
So how do you achieve mental toughness? Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron will teach you all about it. Here are the three main lessons from this book:
- Although talent and passion are both crucial to an athlete’s success, there’s another key aspect that makes the difference.
- Top athletes’ mind training is deeply rooted in mindfulness and stoicism.
- Top performers are confident, humble, and positive as much as they can be.
There’s so much to learn from top athletes worldwide – they train hard, eat well, build their mental toughness every day, and live healthier lives than anyone we know.
While practice beats theory, these lessons are a great starting point if you’re looking to better yourself, so let’s explore them!
Lesson 1: Hard, consistent work is what outpaces motivation in the long run.
Athletes are some of the most committed people in the world. They train tirelessly, push their bodies to the absolute limit, and don’t allow anything or anyone to stand in their way. But how do they do it? What makes them so different from us? And how can we start to apply their principles to our own lives?
The book states that passion is the essential ingredient for being committed to your work, mastering a job, and coming out ahead—even when the odds aren’t exactly in your favour. Passion gives you the energy to keep pushing when things aren’t all pink and fun anymore.
However, there’s another major component of your success recipe along with talent or passion. Consistency in your hard work is what will get you to the top and help you get past troubled times. Being consistent is more of a mind game than anything else because it requires willpower to sustain.
Motivation is what will get you out of the bed, but consistency and habit will get you through the entire day – and in the long run, that’s what builds a career. For top athletes, consistent training, mental strength, and resilience – are all key ingredients to the secret sauce, and they’re not easy to get across.
Lesson 2: To get past mistakes, athletes focus on what they can control and practice breathwork.
In the world of athletics, mistakes happen. A lot. And when they do, athletes have to be able to move on quickly, or else they’ll never get anywhere. To do this, they use a mindset that’s rooted in stoicism: they focus only on what they can control, and try to let go of what they can’t.
The author, which is a professional coach, tells his athletes to never spend more than five minutes on upsetting mistakes; instead, he advises them to practice breathwork to calm themselves down and keep their focus on the game. People often get so focused on their performance that they get overwhelmed by mistakes.
But there are ways to stay calm, and even thrive off of mistakes! When you’re playing a sport, it’s easy to get caught up in the outcome of each game. You want to win and you want to do well. But when you’re playing, there are things that are out of your control.
Things like the weather, how well your teammates play, and what other teams around the league are doing, they’re all in the background of their minds stealing their focus. So how do athletes stay focused on what they can control? It’s simple – they narrow down what’s in their power to change and what isn’t.
They practice breathwork too—breathing exercises like deep breathing and meditation help calm down their bodies and keep their focus on what matters most: performing at their best. Counting breaths while keeping a clear mind is what helps them regain focus.
Lesson 3: Excellence means being confident, seeing the good in everything, performing well, and knowing your worth.
Athletes are well known for their physical strength, but they also possess mental toughness. Mental toughness is a set of behaviours and practices that help athletes achieve excellence by being confident and toughening their minds to help them, not play against them.
To achieve this mental toughness, they must be positive or at least try their best to keep things optimistic. When you’re a positive person, good things will happen to you, and that’s not just karmic knowledge coming into play. Psychology supports these facts of life through a concept called frequency illusion.
For example, when you decide that you like a certain car, you’re going to see it everywhere you go. It’s the same with positivity. Now, another important trait of winners is that they’re humble, but also confident.
One great thing about this book is that it highlights how a person with a healthy mindset can be both of these things – in fact, they should be! Being humble means being open to criticism, feedback, and acknowledging when someone else simply did it better than you.
Confidence comes with training and consistency. Being confident means knowing where you stand without being arrogant about it. It means knowing that you did your best and that your value stays the same regardless of the outcome of a competition. Naturally, these three traits go hand-in-hand in sports and in life.
Chasing Excellence Review
Chasing Excellence presents the unknown side of athletes and the painful, uncomfortable growth they have to go through to become the superhumans we know they are. Athletes are constantly on the hunt for mental toughness, and in this book, Bergeron presents a formula for it.
Reading this book will make you understand how athletes achieve excellence by being confident and training their minds to coordinate them, not play against them. When facing losses, they’re humble and try to learn from their mistakes. Overall, they’re positive and always look forward to new experiences.
Great insights to study and apply to your own personal life!
Who would I recommend the Chasing Excellence summary to?
The 20-year-old athlete who wants to know what it takes to become a professional in the field, the 35-year-old coach who wants to better their training system and build top performers, or the 45-year-old person who is a sports lover and also likes to read about all great stories in the industry.