Mental Toughness is a prerequisite in pretty much every sport, and certainly in basketball, which consumes our household most weeknights and weekends. I didn’t fully appreciate its importance in fishing until I read this article by David Silkes, a fisherman in South Texas, who wades waist high in the freezing cold waters of Baffin Bay, an inlet of the Laguna Madre.
He describes his winter pastime which includes trudging through a toe-numbing freezing cold February tide on soft muddy banks in this excerpt below.
There are no shortcuts to this kind of fishing. It’s generally slow and methodical, sometimes painfully so. And it’s not just about retrieving lures slowly or thoroughly covering water in search of sluggish fish.
Mental toughness is a must. Without immediate or frequent gratification — this is not a numbers game — confidence can wane as anglers grow weary during marathon wades.
Best to know this going in and to accept that sometimes the most coveted rewards are infrequent. Also know, this is not a time to test chest waders for leaks.
Losing focus comes easily after a hundred empty casts, leaving some nonbelievers lazily going through the motions.
But experience breeds confidence. And, thankfully, confidence also is contagious. So if you know the guy next to you has caught a 10-pound winter trout, his focus might inspire yours”.
I think he describes mental toughness well – the methodical approach, focus, persistence and the confidence that comes from experience, sometimes not just your own. This is a similar to so many aspects of work and life that require this level of application and resolve.
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