The word bullet-proof is used in sports to describe an athlete with a physical structure that is impossible to budge, break, or stop from accomplishing their task.
To become the best hockey player you can be, you need to extend that definition to encompass your mindset as well, because your mindset is a fundamental ingredient to success.
A bullet-proof mindset represents the most intense competitors and achievers imaginable—those who stop at nothing to reach their goals. In hockey, being bullet-proof is measured in the relentless pursuit at which you approach your everyday life to put yourself in the best possible position to win.
Being bullet-proof means you are able to enter a state of mind that can give you the strength to overcome, achieve, survive, and be strong when others are not. It means craving the end result so intensely that the work involved to achieve it becomes irrelevant.
The ability to become bullet-proof is in you. It’s in all of us.
As I continue to discuss my position on creating the ultimate hockey mindset through various content platforms, I am blown away by the comments, emails, and social media messages from hockey players who identify with the mental toughness and razor-sharp focus of those who never give up, never quit, and never stop until the desired end result is in their hand.
Hockey players ask me about mental toughness, confidence, leadership, and anxiety-eliminating tactics all the time, analyzing if they have what it takes to become bullet-proof. People want to talk about being bullet-proof, as it’s my name for defining the ultimate hockey players who refuse to be satisfied with just giving it “their best;” they recognize themselves in those individuals who don’t just do a job, they define the job.
Becoming bullet-proof requires your complete commitment to the task. You can reach these heights, but you’re not going to get there without accepting what it takes to maximize your potential. This acceptance is what will ultimately separate you from the pack and allow you to dominate every minute of ice time you get.
World-class players like Crosby, Gretzky, and McDavid defined the job and cemented their legacy by creating a marriage between both physical and mental relentlessness. But can anyone do this? Do you have to be born this way, or can you learn it?
Here’s my answer (and what I hope you keep in mind as you continue through this article as I unpack the first lesson toward becoming bullet-proof): you don’t have to play hockey like McDavid to have his mindset and apply it to everything you do. You don’t need Crosby’s edgework ability to attack your dreams the way he has attacked his. You don’t have to overcome impossible odds like Mario Lemieux defeating cancer during the 1992–1993 season, to overcome any obstacles that stand between you and your goals.
You just need to share their bullet-proof drive for the end result and let nothing stand in your way of achieving it.
A Clear Mind is a Performing Mind
Most are familiar with the story of Chicken Little: an acorn fell on his head and his response was so emotionally driven that he convinced himself and others that the sky was falling. Off this group went to warn everyone else, persuading others to buy into their panic as well.
“Chicken Little Syndrome” (over dramatization and emotional overload) plays itself out in modern hockey all the time. Sometimes it’s culturally driven, sometimes it’s environmentally driven, and sometimes it’s industry-driven. However, the end result plays out on an individual level where a hockey player is unable to respond to life in a calm, assertive way.
No matter where the problem stems from, there tends to be far too much Chicken Little in hockey players these days, who rush to hide their fears or blow them out of proportion.
People love the “look at me” element of social media, but it often leads to making mountains out of molehills—and Chicken Littles out of everyone involved. Giving in to this makes you emotionally reactive to your circumstances instead of logically proactive within the reality of the situation.
You are only going to perform to the degree of your ability to be your authentic self. This is not your ego, this is not emotional attachments, this is not being dramatic, and this is not worrying about what others think of you.
When you are truly self-connected in this way, you know that an acorn is just an acorn, the sky is not falling, and the “impossible” obstacles standing in your way of becoming a better hockey player are mere hurdles you can jump over with some good old-fashioned work.
Authentic living without ego is honest, forgiving, clear in intention, and confident. This is sound hockey performance mental health. If you put the word “self” in front of all those words above, then you are able to perform optimally with peace of mind.
How Do I Develop a Clear, Bullet-Proof Mind?
How can you control your reaction? What if something really emotionally heavy hits you—then what? What if you didn’t make the team you wanted, or someone made fun of your hockey stickhandling video online?
These are common thoughts and questions illustrated as dilemmas.
Seen with a clearer eye and mind, they are also just circumstances. Get used to them; your life will be filled with them. This is reality. How you meet these circumstances and the energy at which you do so is the difference between empowerment and overreaction.
A circumstance is a circumstance. It’s up to you whether you want to meet it with a clear mind or with Chicken Little Syndrome.
A bullet-proof mind is best described as having calm and assertive energy. Calm–assertive energy is the state of being that doesn’t react to circumstances with Chicken Little “the-world-is-against-me” drama and panic.
Being calm means being still, non-agitated, tranquil, and composed. Your energy is undisturbed. This is not a physical or emotional state, but rather, a state of consciousness and being. Calm means not emanating nervousness or anger. Calm becomes the default position by which your bullet-proof state views life. Being calm isn’t just about “doing,” it’s about being. A state you feel authentically from the inside-out.
This is not a passive form of energy. Being calm involves strength, power, clear thinking, and full self-connection. You can be calm and assertive simultaneously.
Assertive doesn’t mean aggressive, it means boldness of spirit. The synonyms for assertive include confident, assured, forceful, firm, and insistent.
Take a moment to imagine if your default consciousness was quiet, tranquil, and filled with composed energy, but that this energy was also forceful, bold, confident, and insistent in action.
How could any energy force or circumstance ever de-stabilize you?
How could any comment negatively affect such a formidable consciousness?
Nothing can stand against this kind of energy, and that is why it is bullet-proof.
Your Highest Performing Self
Calm–assertive “being” means you need to practice the mantra “I am bullet-proof,” as in, you are being your authentic self and reacting to your circumstances on a higher level.
Calm–assertive energy leads directly into a state of intention and contentment. Contentment is a state of grateful living regardless of circumstance. Contentment is looking at a circumstance with maturity and planning what you need to do to optimize it. Contentment is a renewable energy source that helps you remain consistent with any plan so you avoid emotional burnout.
But contentment does not mean satisfaction.
Contentment to the bullet-proof hockey player means forming a state of inner peace that cannot be altered by external circumstances because you view them as puzzles to solve along your journey to becoming your highest-performing self. It is acceptance of the current position you are in and what you need to accomplish to get out of it. It doesn’t come with emotional attachments of want, need, or envy. It just is.
Calm–assertive hockey players have peace of mind because they accept they are in the driver’s seat of their own life, whereas the Chicken Littles of the world have their minds in pieces because they feel they are in the backseat while someone else determines their outcome.
Your Blueprint to Becoming Bullet-Proof
You cannot perform on the ice with a frantic mind. You must become calm–assertive and give your mind the peace it needs to read the ice, be patient with the puck, overcome obstacles without burnout, think clearly in fast-paced games, and execute your skills based on logical performance rather than emotional reaction.
You can only know peace of mind by giving your mind peace. You do so not by being still, but by forming a bullet-proof mindset through the highly specific meditations, rituals, breathing routines, and patterns of thought I have carefully orchestrated in my new book, Bullet-Proof Hockey Mindset.
This book is the most important piece of literature I have ever created. Those who follow its instructions and have the commitment to becoming bullet-proof will become more confident on and off the ice than they ever thought possible.
The science and art of hockey mindset training are deep. The science represents the vast amount of studies published in this area of research, and the art represents applying it in a real-world setting and seeing the results unfold on the ice.
The step-by-step formulas, rituals, and routines I articulate in the Bullet-Proof Hockey Mindset lead to a state of calm-assertive energy. You will meet the world with your energy, your strength, your power, your voice, and your highest-performing self.
This book is definitely not for everybody. High performers are rare, and it’s moments like this that separate the good from the great. The Bullet-Proof Hockey Mindset is reserved for those who refuse to accept that their circumstances dictate their life and who are ready to set a new standard for themselves and do what it takes to achieve their hockey dreams.
If this sounds like you, discover the protocols here, and I’ll see you for your first official lesson.
There is no circumstance that can overwhelm the calm–assertive hockey player. When you live this reality, psychological and emotional burnout become a thing of the past, as your bullet-proof structure cannot be altered.
Becoming bullet-proof is not just a feeling you have or a thought that you think. It works on a deeper level. It’s a state of being that connects you to your highest-performing self.
Everybody has a story about someone they knew who had all the physical tools to become great, but never did so because they didn’t have the mental foundation in place to put it all together.
Connect with your bullet-proof self and your calm-assertive energy will take you off the roller-coaster ride of self-induced emotional reactions to external circumstances.
Your game. Your ice. Your dreams.
You decide your next move.