How many times have you heard the quote "the most important is mental strength"
Of course, in every demanding sport, mental strength is a key factor in the critical moments, to effectively manage concentration, endurance, perseverance, resilience, or extreme risks.
Mental force allows us to do things or overcome situations that seem impossible from the rational point of view, and regarding the technical, physical or circumstances part .
I have a lot of experience in extreme or highly demanding sports, and I think that too often the potential of mental force is overstated and does not take into account some of the dangers that can be hidden behind it.
I want to highlight 3 examples:
1) EXCEED THE PHYSICAL LIMITS : Depending on the person, the moment or the situation, it may be the case that mental strength is far superior to our physical capacity. It’s true t hat many times the body says he has enough, he can’t, but the mind helps us finishing the race or reaching the summit. But I have seen many occasions that this extra energy coming from the willpower, has created very serious injuries, because has forced the body to do something for which it was not prepared at that time. Mental force should also know how to listen and know well the body, being able to quit or slowdown when there is danger of serious or chronic injury.
2) EXCEED THE LIMITS OF RISK : Being obsessed with achieving the goal, and being so persistent and fighter, can drive us to exceed the risk or danger level we are able to manage. This applies especially in extreme sports, obviously. Imagine yourselves being about to attack a major summit, after months of preparation, weeks of acclimatization and patience to wait for a good weather window, and incur the risk of mental strength making you move up to the mountain when it’s not really possible. And in this case, the trick of the mind can be too expensive, because it can become lethal.
3) EXCEED THE PERSONAL OR TEAM LIMITS: Ambition is a major factor for having to mental force in a difficult situation. But this ambition can be so blinding, focusing all your mental strength towards the goal, and forgetting that you are with other people, as a team or just sharing the way, and you can harm them.
I insist that counting on mental force to face any challenge, is almost always a very positive factor; but it should be noted that this same force can also play tricks on very physical level, risk management or interaction with others.
The mind is a great tool, but can also be very treacherous; and as I always say, it is stupid to say that there are no limits, and our responsibility is, precisely, to manage them well from mental ‘intelligence’ , and not just from the mental ‘strength’.