How To Develop A Bulletproof Mindset

“When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like a chore”

“The layman’s definition of anxiety would be, ask your subconscious a question it cannot answer”

“The culture of the age perpetuates honesty as weakness”

“The purest form of motivation is love what you do in the moment you’re doing it.”

“Putting absolutes on uncontrollable outcomes is so dangerous.”

“Learning is important because its tied to change”

“Our words don’t have the power to change reality to fit our mind but they do have the power to change our mind to fit reality.”¬†


  • Welcome Back: 00:30
  • Background On Tervel: 2:00
  • Sacrifices To Achieve Goals: 9:10
  • Are You Actually Ready? The Value of Honesty: 22:00
  • Character and honesty: 31:00
  • Making Changes: 37:00
  • Controllable vs Uncontrollable: 46:00
  • Closing Remarks: 53:45


Tervel is a first generation immigrant from Bulgaria. He was rather unmotivated when it came to most things after his parents telling him football isn’t a real sport and not making the basketball team. Then around sophomore year he decided to get in shape to pick up chicks. Then after watching a wrestling practice he wanted to get on the team just so he had some accountability to workout. After about a year of wrestling for workouts he began to really enjoy the sport. True passion for something like this can be recognized by taking notice of your thoughts. If it is truly dominating your thoughts and it is constantly on your mind then you know it is worth pursuing. This propelled him on the path to college. He wound up in a Division 2 school where he performed well and then learned from some studs at a freestyle camp after his sophomore year. From this point he decided he wanted to pursue this even further after college. Not only did he recognize that he was good but he also had a true love for the sport. Motivation for pursuing something difficult whether it be a sport or a craft comes from two places, the altruistic part of you where you are doing it because you love it and the natural motivation of making money, achieving and all the things that come along with that. The important thing is to constantly remind yourself of your love for your craft. When doing anything difficult it is very easy to lose sight of this factor. He never forgot that he was trying to win the Olympics but it was easy to forget that, ‘hey this is fun’ mentality.

There are sacrifices that must be made when chasing a goal as great as the Olympic Podium. Tervel and others pursuing the same goal, if they truly want to succeed would spend a lot of nights home alone while friends are hanging out, going to the bars or whatever. This in conjunction with early morning or late night training sessions before and after your team arrives comes with the goal. Yes this is a major sacrifice to make but if it is something you truly love then its not a difficult choice to make. You have to love the process. There are sayings like ‘sacrifice now and be a champion later’ but a better way to look at this is, why not do something you love so you can have fun now and be a champion later? There are always larger motivators but daily, when you’re in it that is not really what you think about. In wrestling, sure the olympics was the goal but the day to day stuff such as getting better and better at positions each day is what carries you through. So focusing on getting just a little bit better and seeing incremental progress is what really pushes people to become great.

There are things that no one has to teach you. Things like wanting to be better than people, winning is better than losing, approval from others is better than disapproval from others are universal. The natural tendencies of motivation are all uncontrollable by you. Can you choose to win? If you can choose to win, why do people take losses? There are many factors that play into whether you do or don’t win but the choice is always to win. There are many controllable factors that can help you win but at the end of the day it isn’t really up to you. For example, people’s approval, you can do everything in your power to make someone like you but when it comes down to it, they may decide that they don’t like you and that is something you have no control over. You can’t control other people’s decisions or other people’s training but you can control how you prepare yourself.

The layman’s definition of anxiety would be to ask your subconscious a question it cannot answer. You have to be at piece with the unknown. If you cannot control what is going to happen and the outcomes are uncertain it creates anxiety. Sports anxiety is the number one reason people miss their goals. Any uncontrollable leaves your mind with a bunch of question marks and this creates anxiety. You have to funnel your progress to things you have control over. There are motivators that are under your control that are not as attractive but they create consistency and personal satisfaction in the small moments. If you love progress and that excites and motivates you then you will be happy multiple times per day. You have to train yourself to value the small progression. Now the question becomes how to you train yourself to do this. There are circumstances in life that train you to become better. Environment, losses, adversity etc. all play a role. Sometimes adversity takes pressure off of you. When you take a loss, heartbreaking as it may be, the external expectations are lowered and you can focus on what you really need to. There are so many little things that go into a person’s performance and when things are going well, we naturally want to take all the credit but when things are bad we just say next time it will be better. In order for next time to be better you have to prepare. No one explains away their wins. We explain away our losses.

Talent exists. There are people out there who operate at 60% but because of their talent will succeed. Yeah this is pretty fucked up but it is a reality of life. Just because someone is winning or has achieved something that you value doesn’t mean they are operating at a higher level than you. Most professional people quickly let go their losses but because of the culture surrounding it sometimes you have to feign being upset with yourself in order to demonstrate that you care. Perception is important because if it looks like you don’t care there will be repercussions. The culture of the age perpetuates honesty as weakness. For example if asked are you ready? The only acceptable answer is hell yeah! No one is allowed to say no. It is crazy that people are pressured into not being honest. If people could be honest about their anxieties approaching a big moment then maybe it would drop their guard down and relieve some of that stress. There have been times where Tervel was in a meet and he wanted his teammate to lose to take some of the pressure off of him. Something many of us do. If you’re the only one that loses then it reflects really poorly on you but if someone else does too then you look a little better. In order to battle this, the first thing to make a cultural change in your mind from the stress building philosophies to stress relieving philosophies is honesty. First with yourself and then eventually with others. Life is so much easier when you consistently tell the truth because you never have to think about what you are going to say.

The purest form of motivation is love what you do in the moment you’re doing it. What coaches and society do is try to add to it. For example, you can love what you do but if you are good at it we will give you a lot of money. Those external parameters build stress. The more stripping away the better. Simplicity is a key form of success and motivation. In order for others to help you strip away this extra noise you must be willing to be honest with those around you. A common belief in sports is, ‘If I lose, people will like and respect me less but, if I do perform people will respect me more.’ The trick is getting the athlete to say this out loud. Once they speak it and hear themselves say the words the athlete will realize how ridiculous that notion is. Though it made so much sense in their head, they recognize how insane the thought was. Verbalizing your fears can be an incredibly powerful tool in moving beyond them.

Character is who you are. Reputation is who people think you are. You can’t control what people think you are but you can control who you are. People become so enamored with building a reputation that they forget about character. All you can do is put your best foot forward and be the best person you can be because you cannot control what others think of you. You can always be honest with people and regardless of what you say to people if you are honest they will respect you. They may not like you, but they will respect you. We all try to be mind readers; trying to be the person others think you are rather than simply painting the picture yourself.

Why is it so difficult to make the correct changes in something that is really important, but so easy to make the correct changes in the stuff that isn’t so important? For example, fighting back during a pick up basketball game versus being somewhat timid during a wrestling match in the Olympics. This is because we attach absolute importance to the things we cherish the most. ¬†This value placement results in a mentality of protecting versus attacking. If someone is coming for what you cherish most the instinct is to protect it. We look at these things as the be all end all. It happens with careers, because not only do you want to do it but you have to do it. You have to understand that you are more than your career and if you lose your career, you’re not dead but rather just going down a different avenue. People put absolutes on uncontrollable outcomes is so dangerous because there are no absolutes. Its all something we conjure up in our own heads and though it isn’t real it is so powerful when its in your head.

Learning is important because its tied to change. If you don’t change then you just heard. You didn’t learn anything. Everyone should reflect regularly to see if change is occurring, to see if progress is happening. Satisfaction is tied to discernible progress. In order to experience this progress, you have to be uncomfortable for a period of time. This is where many people stop. They may see a little progress but will stop because they can’t handle how uncomfortable you have to become in order to make serious headway.

You have to live in reality but a lot of people don’t do this. Positive self talk is real and beneficial but people tend to use it wrong. You cannot just speak circumstances into existence. Just saying something repeatedly is not going to make it real. There needs to be actions that come with what you tell yourself. Our words don’t have the power to change reality to fit our mind but they do have the power to change our mind to fit real life. There are a lot of things in life that are outside of our control. You cannot be afraid of the uncontrollable. What freed up Tervel was the thought “I just want to see how good I am. I want the better wrestler to win and I hope its me.” This took his mindset from protect and guard against losing to attack and win. Focus on what you can get better at because you can never control the uncontrollable. Many coaches will teach one thing during practice and drill it into the athlete’s head to attack, attack, attack but then on game day they tell the athlete to just go out and have fun. That doesn’t match up. There needs to be consistency. The number one way to see people’s true colors is what they punish or what they worship. We always tell people it is more valuable to be a good person than to win but theres no hall of fame for integrity. We honor those who win, not necessarily those who are great leaders. We worship winning, we punish losing but then we tell them to have fun. Your inner circle has to be air tight because when you’re weak, they are strong. If something is stressing you out in your inner circle, address it immediately.


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