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Updated: Sep 27, 2018

Check out this basketball brain test to measure your mental toughness on and off the basketball court.

Your brain under stress can’t perform complex tasks. You need a peaceful, hopeful brain to navigate basketball, school, work and life with success. Complexity in your brain that comes in without warning or welcome is a problem. Thought addiction is an example of this. A criticism from your coach comes to you and you can’t get the brain focused, instead it wants to OD on fear about the critique. Fear is a huge robber of mental ability. Fear floods your brain and paralyzes you. Anger and bitterness do the same. After a fight with a family member, the mind can replay the argument over and over again making work focus almost impossible.

The goal at NBC Basketball is to train our minds to be a sanctuary of peace regardless of the external complexities. A peaceful mind is able to untangle the chaos and create order.

Here are some practical ways to navigate external complexity.

Develop a mentally tough mindset. Mental toughness means that you control what you will and will not think. Fearful thoughts don’t plague you. “What ifs” and fear of the future doesn’t have time in your mind. Your thoughts are strong, wise, consistent and powerful.

Those with a Mentally Weak Mindset

Focus on the faults of others

Perseverate on mistakes

Entertain all negative outcomes

Cannot stop thinking about negative events

Have a crowded and chaotic thought life

Those with a Mentally Tough Mindset

Focus on helping others become their best

Learn from mistakes

Entertain all the ways to be grateful

Replace negative thoughts with solutions and hope

Have a peaceful and mindful thought life

Feed your brain healthy input. What you put in your mind matters. Pornography, traumatic news stories, negativity, violence, mindless prattle and empty words weaken your mind. Surround your mind with complexity of thought that is wise, powerful, insightful and true. Read great thinkers throughout history. Study the lives of the great leaders and those who have influenced the world for good. Memorize. If you find you can’t manage your thoughts around depression or fear, memorize poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins such as the poem "As Kingfisher’s catch fire". The difficulty of memorizing his poems absorbs the mind and keeps it from drifting toward places of chaos.

Focus on the simple gratitudes of life. Notice the taste of your food. Notice the feel of your favorite fabric or the fur of a beloved pet. Breathe in the scent of a worn leather basketball. Listen in a noisy gym and try to identify all the fun and interesting sounds. Find ways to say thank you even when life gets complex.

Building a basketball brain that can handle the complexity of the game and the challenges of life is a daily disicipline. Every day you are mentally tough in the small tasks, you will be building a basketball brain that can handle the big moments of life.

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