Book Review: The Comeback Quotient by Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald is one of my favorite sports authors. I've already written a review on his previous best-selling book, How Bad Do You Want it? And now I'm excited to share with you my review of his latest book, The Comeback Quotient: A Get-Real Guide to Building Mental Fitness in Sport and Life. Here is what I learned from this well-written and practical book: 

Mental fitness can be simply defined as the ability to make the best out of bad situations. As athletes, we're often dealt with all kinds of bad situations, such as dealing with injuries, fatigue, and intense pressure. The mentally fittest athletes are able to make the best of these situations and achieve great success. But how? According to Fitzgerald, the essence of mental fitness is facing reality effectively. Whenever we're faced with a bad situation, we can either face the reality in front of us and push through it, or we can turn away from reality and fail to do what needs to be done.

There are three steps to facing reality effectively:
1. Accepting reality
2. Embracing reality
3. Addressing reality

In order to face reality effectively, you first need to accept it. To accept reality means to see things as they actually are, not as you wish them to be. When an athlete fails to accept reality, two things can happen. Either the athlete panics or they enter a state of denial. Neither of these mindsets helps you cope with the obstacles in front of you. Instead of wishing your bad situation wasn't happening, you need to accept reality and move on to making the most of it. 

This is where embracing reality comes in. Accepting reality is not enough. When an athlete accepts the reality of their bad situation, they often give in to apathy and lose hope. To maintain your self-belief and inner drive, you need to embrace the challenge in front of you. You may not like it, but you need to commit yourself to making the best of it. Even if your main goal is no longer attainable, you need to aim for the next best thing and find the motivation to continue working your hardest.

However, even if you accept and embrace reality, this doesn't guarantee that you'll face reality effectively. You still need to address the reality in front of you, which means doing the actual work to solve problems and perform better. This is the part where you need to grind and push through discomfort. While having motivation and confidence is needed to do this, you also need discipline, willpower, and mental toughness. In other words, you need to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Accepting and embracing reality are mental skills you need to build confidence and motivation, but ultimately, the only way to truly build mental strength is by purposely seeking out tough challenges and pushing through them. 

These are the basics of mental fitness. No matter what situation you're in, you can make the most of it by accepting, embracing, and addressing reality. And the more you do this, the mentally fitter you'll become, which will help you overcome your future challenges.

To help you better accept, embrace, and address reality, Fitzgerald teaches about many mental skills and strategies. Here are some of my favorites:

Practice mindfulness:
One of the many benefits of practicing mindfulness is that it improves your self-awareness and metacognition skills. This means that you're able to better recognize counterproductive thoughts and emotions. Once you recognize these thoughts and emotions, you can then take a step back, detach yourself from them, and consciously choose to better accept, embrace, and address the reality in front of you.

Focus on the controllables:
Failing to face reality effectively often stems from focusing on what you cannot control, which leads to discouragement and fear. By keeping your focus on what you can control, you can maintain your confidence and motivation, which will help you face reality better. 

Focus more on the process, less on the outcome:
One of the things you can control is the process. The outcome is a byproduct of the process. So if you want good outcomes, focus all of your energy on the process. This is especially important in high-pressure situations, where it's easy to worry about the outcome.

Cultivate strong motivation:
Like I said earlier in this book review, addressing reality is not easy. It takes a lot of motivation to push through discomfort and overcome difficult challenges. In order to cultivate a large amount of motivation, you need to connect your goals to your deepest values. In other words, you must truly care about your goals/motivations and take pride in them. Don't just work hard to impress others. Work hard to discover your true potential, support your loved ones, and make the world a better place!

Give meaning to your setbacks:
To help you cope with adversity, it greatly helps to have perspective and think about the bigger picture. When you experience a setback, remember that it's just one step in the journey of life, a step that can ultimately help lead you to a happy ending. You never know what good can come from adverse events, so always remain hopeful!

These are just some of the many helpful tips I learned in this book. If you really want to improve your mental fitness, then I highly recommend you read this book and apply its lessons to your daily life!

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