Mental Toughness: What is it and do the Texans have it?

Okay, going to the store to pick up the 5 gallon jar of mental toughness. Wait, what brands do they sell of mental toughness? How much does mental toughness cost? Should I get the designer brand of mental toughness? Or the generic version of mental toughness?

I was watching a TV show about football and one of the commentators was saying that “the Texans don’t have mental toughness”. And I have to wonder, what is mental toughness? It sounds like one of those glorious intangibles that Matt Schaub is supposed to have in spades to get us to the promised land of the Super Bowl win.

Do they teach mental toughness at the universities? Mental toughness 101. Who teaches it? What department is it in? Can I get a major in that?

You see, this is the problem. Mental toughness is intangible. We can’t measure it; we can’t weigh it; we can’t smell it. And yet, our entire team is expected to have tons of it. The other problem with mental toughness is that most people don’t have the first clue about what it is.

“Oh I can’t tell you what it is. But I know it when I see it.”

Wow. Clear as mud. Now I understand everything about mental toughness.

I’ll share with y’all some of my thoughts on mental toughness. But, in all honesty, I can’t tell you that this is the one and only answer – because that simply is untrue. What is mental toughness? There will be as many answers to the question as there are people who have ever existed.

One of the properties I attribute to mental toughness is self-acceptance.

Let me explain. I think it takes self-acceptance to look at the mistakes that I made and then say,

“okay that was a pretty serious mistake but I’m better than that.” Or say

“okay that wasn’t such a big deal of a mistake that’s easy to correct.”

Can you see the difference between assessments like the ones above and assessments like this:

“Gah! I suck! How could I have done such a stupid thing?”

This kind of thinking has some pretty unforgiving vibes to it, wouldn’t you agree?

The really top-notch players are not only honest with themselves but they forgive themselves of their mistakes. This is what Andre and other players mean when they say “You’ve got to have a short memory.”

Just today, on KTRK Channel 13, Kubiak said,

“I think the biggest thing that I’ll be talking about over the next 48 hours is I don’t want them to worry about making mistakes. I want them to play with a reckless abandon. I want them to cut it loose because I think that’s the most important thing. I don’t want to see any apprehension on anybody’s part.”

This is actually perfect advice!

Worrying about mistakes only makes you more mistake prone. Being fearful will only bring mistakes and missed opportunities your way. Feeling guilty about mistakes or feeling ashamed about missed opportunities will NOT get you a win. So Kubiak has the right of it.

Our team is in good hands – their own and Gary Kubiak’s and Wade Phillips’.

Have faith, Texans fans! We’ll do our best Saturday!

I also saw on the

(on how much the fan support helps) “It helps a whole bunch. I’m a strong believer in energy. And when everybody’s energy is focused on one thing towards a positive thing, you can feel that. And you can also feel the opposite, when everybody is booing.”

Let me add some other notes about interpersonal energy because I agree with Arian about energy between living beings. I also agree with this book called Power vs Force where they used muscle testing to calibrate human emotions. And on a scale of 0 -1000 where feelings like

1000 = elightenment (Buddah, Jesus, etc)

540 = joy

500 = love

200 = courage

175 = pride

150 = anger

100 = fear

75 = grief

50 = apathy

30 = guilt

20 = shame

If people are angry (150) or in fear of losing (100) or in grief (75) and they start filling the stadium with boos, do you think the players will somehow miraculously reach up to feel courage (200) or pride (175) and play their best? Would you? If your family were yelling and screaming at you? It just makes you feel crappy when you’re getting yelled at. And the greatest likelihood is that a stadium full of boos is not just fans expressing their displeasure but fans trying to elicit a response. But if the response that they elicit is shame(20) and guilt(30)?

Do you think that will help the team win?

I don’t think so.

Christie Marie Sheldon in her program Love or Above, added to the list in that Power vs Force book. She calibrated

900 = gratitude

780 = heartfelt appreciation

I don’t REALLY want our fans to feel guilty (especially the fans who didn’t boo the team). But I DO want us to think about how we affect our team. Just a little bit of thought and A LOT of love for both our fans AND our team.

Enjoy the ride. We have a 12 and 4 team! Be thankful we get to see Andre Johnson play and win in our colors! We have SOOO much to be thankful for as fans. Along with being thankful for Andre Johnson, I’m thankful for getting to see JJ Watt and Arian Foster out there doing their best. I was thankful to see Kevin Walter show up in that touchdown drive in Indy. I was thankful to see DeVier Posey doing some awesome catches and LeStar Jean doing awesome catches.

We have a great owner, a great team, and a great city!




I forgot to answer if I thought the Texans have mental toughness. Yes I do. I think they had it for all to see during the Chicago game in the rain and the cold. Then I think it in the last four games it got clouded over by the negative energies that they allowed themselves to take on (the shame, the guilt, the apprehension of making a mistake). When the Texans play Texans football (Texans football is highly successful football where things go their way) they have what it takes. We've seen it.

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