Transform Your Mental Toughness With The TB12 Mindset

Transform Your Mental Toughness With The TB12 Mindset

“The right mindset and attitude give us opportunities to do the best we can and to realize the potential that’s in every one of us.” - Tom Brady

Tom Brady’s legendary mindset and mental toughness have been the driving force behind his journey from unheralded high school quarterback and pick #199 in the NFL Draft to 7-time Super Bowl Champion. Though we can’t all be NFL greats, there’s so much we can learn from the mindset that helped Tom get to where he is.

The TB12 Mindset is exactly that – a set of principles that guide us in our approach to the challenges life throws at us every day – inspired by the mindset that Tom has honed and refined over the last 20-plus years.

Here are the 6 components that make up the TB12 Mindset:

1. Stay Positive
2. Always Give Your Best Effort
3. Accept No Limits
4. Learn From Failure
5. Develop A Growth Mindset
6. Above All, Stay Determined

Stay Positive:

How do you build this principle into your own life? By taking action at the beginning of your day. When you wake up, consciously choose a positive outlook for the day ahead.

As you go through your day, it’s essential to know the difference between the things you can control and the things you can’t. If an event that’s out of your control doesn’t go your way, try to avoid sliding into anger and frustration – emotions that are firmly within your control. Choose to remain positive. You may not have control over what happens, but you can choose how you react and carry yourself.

A positive mindset doesn’t mean you ignore life’s difficulties and challenges – it means you approach them in a more constructive and positive way. A positive mindset has been linked with lower rates of depression, resistance to the common cold, and better cardiovascular health.

We put this into practice every day in our TB12 Centers by cultivating an overwhelming atmosphere of positivity. We are always telling our clients that they WILL get better and they WILL get back to what they love. We attack every problem and challenge we encounter with a positive outlook, and instill this same mentality in the clients we work with on a daily basis.

Here’s what to do:

Choose to remain positive. You may not have control over what happens, but you can choose how you react. Envision yourself succeeding – making the pass, scoring the goal, making the stop, crushing your PR. Pre-frame your mind for success, not failure, and that which you focus on most will most likely come to pass and fruition.

Tom’s Take:

“I don’t like to focus on negatives or make excuses,” Tom says. “I am never a victim. I gain nothing if I get angry or frustrated. If I throw an interception or have a bad day, by staying in that place, I will just make things worse.”

Always Give Your Best Effort:

One of the few things you can control day-to-day is the effort you give. Whether you’re facing a tough workout, an assignment at work, or life’s everyday challenges, the best thing you can do is attack the task at hand with the best effort you’re capable of giving. Your best effort won’t always be the same – it changes based on the situation you’re in, and that’s okay!

You can’t always perform at your peak, but you can always put forth the effort you’re capable of depending on the situation you’re in.

Here’s what to do:

Expect the best from your day, and then give your best possible effort.

Tom’s Take:

“For me, it’s less about the outcome than it is about whether I put in the best effort relative to our team’s potential,” he says. “Some games we may win by a big margin, and in others, we may be outscored, but the ones I remember best are the closely fought games in which, no matter what the scoreboard says, our team put in our best effort.”

Accept No Limits:

No matter who you are or what you do in life, you will always have people and situations around you which, whether consciously or unconsciously, will try to put limitations on you. For some of us, it comes in the form of an untimely injury or a coach who doesn’t see our true potential – for others, these limits and obstacles present a lifelong challenge in the form of racial or gender inequities, a disability, or poverty.

Whatever your situation entails, just keep going. Ignore the noise and focus on you. Don’t let outside thoughts or pressures change the confidence you have in yourself, and remember that you are strong enough to take on any challenge that comes your way.

Here at TB12, we fearlessly challenge convention and expand our possibilities by pushing the boundaries of what is accepted and expected.

Here’s what to do:

As much as the people and circumstances around you will try to dictate your path, remember to push forward and forge your own way. Getting cut from your JV basketball team doesn’t mean you can’t play on the Varsity team next season. An ACL injury is indeed a significant setback, but it doesn’t mean your athletic career is over. Believe in yourself and don't give any attention to limitations others try to put on you.

Tom’s Take:

“If things go my way, great; and if they don’t, that’s okay, too, since I always have a chance to overcome them in the future.”

Learn From Failure:

Rather than go into a dark place when things don’t work out or if you have a bad day, learn from it. The best way to turn a negative situation into something positive is to learn from the mistakes you made and what went wrong. Instead of dwelling on a rough day of work or a bad performance at practice, be self-critical – think introspectively about what you did and didn’t do, and make a change.

For Tom, this principle plays a major role in his success on the field. Every difficult loss gives Tom two options – he can either dwell on it and get frustrated, or pay close attention to what went wrong and learn from it. That first option is the easy way out, and it certainly won’t help you avoid repeating your failure in the future.

Here’s what to do:

If you truly want to learn and grow in the face of failure, you have to be willing to self-reflect and learn from it. This principle applies to everyone – you don’t even have to be an athlete to bring this approach into your life. Reflect on the things that went well, but focus especially on your weaknesses. It won’t be easy, but this kind of constructive approach will help you grow!

Tom’s Take:

“Whenever my team loses a game, it’s an opportunity to learn something. If we’ve lost but I’ve learned something, the game turns into a positive experiment,” says Tom.

Develop a Growth Mindset:

Maintaining a focus on growth is a crucial part of the overall TB12 Mindset. People who attack the challenges in front of them with a growth mindset understand that their own intelligence and ability can change as a result of their effort, strategy, and persistence. Having a growth mindset is about embracing challenges when they arise, and accepting criticism and failure – as both play a crucial role in helping you continue to grow as a person.

Here’s what to do:

Embrace life’s challenges, and don’t be afraid to learn from your failures and any feedback you receive. Never lose sight of the fact that your effort and attitude determine everything, and that you can persist through the adversity or setbacks that come your way with the right approach and preparation.

Tom’s Take:

“I’ve learned to use losses in games as ways to be better the next time on the field. Usually, what I learn afterward, through reviewing game tapes or thinking back on how I felt and what I did on the field, is a greater positive than whatever benefits might have come from winning,” says Tom.

Above All, Stay Determined:

Determination is the engine that drives the TB12 Mindset. If you aren’t determined to be the best version of yourself and committed to self-improvement, then none of these other principles really matter. Determination has to come from within – you have to believe in yourself and be driven by a purpose.

Determination means that you’re willing to do the extra work required to be great in everything that you do. No shortcuts, no quitting, and no excuses – if you’re truly determined to accomplish something, you won’t let anything stand in your way.

Here’s what to do:

Start by identifying what your goal or purpose is. Write it down and keep it by your bed, add it as a note in your phone, or do whatever you have to do to to give yourself a regular reminder of what you’re working towards. When you’re motivated by a purpose like this, you’ll find it’s much easier to stay determined and relentlessly pursue your goals.

Tom’s Take:

“If you don’t believe in yourself, why is anyone else going to believe in you?”

Developing a TB12 Mindset by building these habits – choosing to stay positive, focusing on giving your best effort, accepting no limits, learning from failure, developing a growth mindset, and above all, staying determined— can turn mistakes into valuable lessons and failures into victories. Believe in yourself and always KEEP GOING.

Read more about Tom's perspective in The TB12 Method book.