We all experience times when we're just not "feeling it." The reason why could be a variety of factors, but all in all, the connection between your mind and body isn't as strong as you'd like it to be.
In my experience, I've often found that simply refreshing your perspective can quickly change your mindset. That could be listening to a speech, having a "heart to heart" with a friend or family member, or reading a book.
Allowing yourself to step outside of your current circumstances and into the situation of another person is a powerful thing. Oftentimes, what seemed insurmountable for you may not seem as bad when compared to others.
I get asked a lot about mental toughness training and overall sports mental health. I'm a big believer in visualization, about imagining yourself in the thick of the fight and thinking through how you will persevere. Of course, once you're there, things are often much harder than what you imagined. However, the ability to stop and think for a moment and place your focus where it needs to be is much easier to do when you've practiced doing it.
With that, here are 6 books that will challenge your perspectives, make you think about how you handle fear, and help you mentally prepare for whatever challenges lie ahead.
"Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds" by David Goggins: Goggins is an absolute beast, and the obstacles that he overcomes in this book illustrate the superpower of the mind. From losing 100 lbs in 90 days to Navy Seal training to running for 24 hours straight, there aren't many people in the world that have this type of discipline and "no excuses" type of mindset. As Goggins says, "Don't just talk about it, be about it."
"Strong" by Kara Goucher: Goucher is tough, confident, feminine, and an incredible runner. In Strong, she shares her own experiences, as well as perspectives from her own sports psychologist, Dr. Stephen Walker. Whether you're a competitive runner or training for your first 5k, this book will help improve your mental mindset.
"Relentless" by Tim Grover: This book has become somewhat of a cult classic following its release in 2014. Grover, the legendary trainer most famous for his relationship with Michael Jordan, takes the reader through his philosophies, including how to be a "cleaner."
"Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink: If you like the David Goggins books, you'll love this one. Willink is a former Navy Seal that has become world famous for his philosophies on leadership, toughness, and mental discipline. He also makes a pretty good energy drink!
"Getting Undressed" by David Cooks: I spent a lot of time with Cooks in my younger years, and I'm proud to call him a mentor and friend. This is one of those books that will move you. Imagine having a spinal aneurysm at the age of 15 and being told that you're now paralyzed from the waist down. What would you do? How would you respond? Cooks didn't just overcome; he created a life far more impactful.
"Toughness" by Jay Bilas: Bilas, a former Duke basketball star and current ESPN college basketball analyst, writes a book that's meaningful even if you're not a basketball fan. While there are a lot of basketball examples and stories from his own upbringing, the messages in this book can be applied to anyone; advice for people on how to navigate adversity, develop mental stamina, and stay focused on the task at hand.
Strapped For Time?
Trust me, I get it. You might be saying, "These books like great, but I don't have time to read a full book." If that's the case, check out recent blog post, where we highlight some of our favorite motivational speeches. On your commute to work tomorrow or maybe on the treadmill at the gym, crank one up and get motivated!
Have Time and Want More Book Suggestions?
For additional "Best of" lists, see our Recommendations page here.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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