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Mental Resilience


Thought you might enjoy a Yogi Berra quote to start...

"Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical."

Too funny and makes a great point. Life is a constant mental challenge. And we know, heaven or hell, it's between our ears.

As you ponder what it will take for you to become more mentally resilient, here are some things to consider.

"I don't count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they're the only ones that count." -Muhammad Ali

When the going gets tough that's where growth happens. It only counts when we have to get over an obstacle.

How would you do in the marshmallow test? Remember this one? Kids were given the choice to eat one marshmallow immediately or wait and get to eat two. It's a test to see what their tendency was for delayed gratification. When we can stick with things we care about, the rewards will often be greater.

Are you making mistakes every day? If not, you're probably not taking the necessary risks to learn and grow. What would you do if you weren't afraid? The people who try the most stuff eventually accomplish what they set out to do. Make mistakes faster, look foolish, who cares? Run the experiments again and again until you learn what you need to have the impact you want.

Our emotions can get the best of us at times. We often act our worst when our emotions take control of our actions. We're doing things to be safe because we don't feel safe. Try entering situations with a neutral mindset. This way you'll avoid being pessimistic or naive and be open to other perspectives.

Deciding is different than doing. Our actions express our priorities. Don't get caught up in paralysis by analysis. Once you've made the decision start doing. You'll be surprised who comes along to join in your efforts.

Our intuition is always working. The problem is we often ignore it and think we know better. To listen and be in tune with our intuition we need space for it to talk to us. Being too busy is setting yourself up to ignore what you know is how you should be spending your time. There is power in pausing.

"You'll know you're a good leader when people follow if only out of curiosity." -Colin Powell

When we are certain about things it shuts down our ability to listen, learn, and lead. Being curious actually attracts others to the cause we care about.

Having a preferred vision of the future is great. Once you're doing the things that move toward that vision you'll find yourself stuck on some of the details. This is the universe pointing you in the direction you need to go. Dig into the details and ask for help along the way.

We've gotten really good, experts in fact, at being nice to one another. What we need is to be kind, especially to people who act inappropriately to us. Remember, hurt people hurt people. Extend some kindness and empathy to them. Maya Angelou said, "People won't remember what you said, they'll remember how you made them feel." Show up for them authentically and they won't soon forget it. Empathy is for others and you!

We must take responsibility when things go wrong if we're going to take credit when they go right. It has to be a balanced equation to work. We're human and will mess up. Own it. Apologize in an honest and respectful way and move on.

"Don't downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny." -Stuart Scott

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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