• I Know You Got Talent – It’s the Other Thing I Wonder About

    I was watching the movie The Devil’s Advocate, and was struck by a perfect description of Mental Toughness. Al Pacino is trying to seduce a small town lawyer from Florida to join his firm in New York. Here’s what Pacino says: “I know you got talent. It’s the other thing I wonder about. Pressure. Changes […]

  • Balls to the Wall, Man

    Ever heard the phrase, “Balls to the Wall?” It always kinda confused me. You’re out on the field or on the court, and some guy’s yelling, “Balls to the Wall!” I never knew what the hell it meant. And I guess if I gave it any serious thought, it would have brought up some pretty […]

  • You Gotta WANT It

    My old High School football coach had some memorable quotes. Some of em…not so positive. I remember him yelling at us in the locker room: “No matter how good you are, you’re all replaceable.” Or telling us, “The more negative energy you have, the better football player you’re gonna be.” He was like an alcoholic […]

  • Mental Toughness In a Head-On Collison

    The good word from a Tension Blaster member, Tyler: “I’ve just completed the 9 week Heavy Tension Blaster cycle and I have got to say that I’m impressed. My anxiety has lessened a lot. For example I was almost in a head on collision with another car. In the past when something like would have […]

  • Power Naps of the Champions

    There are plenty of reasons I look up to Royce Gracie. For one, he was the guy who cleaned up on all the early UFCs, proving to the world the unbelievable power of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But what really amazes me is something I heard in an interview with him. He said he was so […]

  • Loosen Up, Stop Thinking, and Perform

    Sometimes I get some flack for being so hard on the ‘positive thinking’ crowd. Truth is, I don’t really have anything against positive thinking. If I’m gonna have thoughts rattling around my skull, I figure they may as well be positive, goal-directed, achievement oriented, etc. That’s all good. It might even be helpful sometimes. But […]

  • Yoda’s School for Mental Toughness Jedi

    I loved the original Star Wars when I was a kid. Especially the scenes where Yoda trains Luke to become a Jedi. Go figure. As it turns out, that Jedi stuff is pretty close to Mental Toughness training. So let’s see what we can learn from Master Yoda: “Unlearn what you have learned.” Whenever I […]

  • LSD and Mental Toughness and No-Hitters…Oh My…

    This is one of the craziest stories in sports history. On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, took some LSD with his girlfriend. It was his day off. Well, he thought it was his day off. About an hour after they took the acid, Dock’s girlfriend opened the newspaper. “Dock,” she […]

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Why Competition Is Good for the Soul

Competition is good for the soul.

I don’t just mean sitting back and watching a couple football teams fight it out on a Sunday afternoon, though that is enjoyable.

I’m talking about the ceaseless competitions that arise in everyday life.

As an athlete, a business owner, or simply a human, it’s competition
that pushes you to the next level. The desire to be better. To be the best.

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

But you always get stronger.

When you’re Mentally Tough, you embrace the competition.

You don’t WANT the lion to lay down with the lamb.

That’s the dream of the weak. And it’s fundamentally incorrect.

Even if you’re a peaceful vegan, your immune system is still waging war on invaders.

Competition is investment of life force. You’re taking a risk. You throw yourself into a situation where you could win, or you could lose, sometimes lose big. But either way, you’ll come out of it stronger, wiser, and better at what you do. You end up somewhere you couldn’t even have guessed at when you started.

Cooperation has its place. And competition should be friendly. But let’s not fool ourselves. The world is not a peaceful place. It’s a place of struggle. Force contending against force. Power confronting power.

The more tension you have, the more you want everything to just settle down so you can pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep.

Sure, I get the appeal. But when you do that you stop growing. Your life force stops moving. You stop overcoming obstacles. And when you stop getting stronger, you start getting weaker.

Sooner or later your life force gets the hint, and bit by bit it leaves you. You become a sad, catatonic lump on the couch, and life keeps going on somewhere else.

But this is your life. This, right now. It’s not a dress
rehearsal. It’s going to be over one day.



If you want to get in the game you have to learn to love
the pain, the struggle. That’s what leads to greater joy, greater growth, and greater richness of experience in general.

The more Mental Toughness you have, the more lustful you are to jump in the fray, day after day.

And the more NRW you do, the more Mentally Tough you are.

Get started here:

Tension Blaster Workout Series

The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing

Yesterday I got an email from a recent Tension Blaster buyer:

“How do I cancel this? I don’t like the program.”

When I say recent, I mean recent. She bought the program, and within a couple minutes, asked for the refund.

No chance she implemented any of the exercises.

Hey, no problem. That’s why I offer a 60 money back guarantee. I gave her her money back right away, no fuss, and took her off my list.

I do my best to make sure that kind of person doesn’t get to the point of buying any of my programs. But every once in a while, one slips through the cracks.

I’m pretty clear in everything I put out that this is physical work, you gotta work to get the results, and you can’t just wish for some magic fairy dust to turn you into a Mental Toughness Warrior overnight.

I don’t know what this girl was expecting, but clearly it was something that would have worked such magic within the first couple minutes of staring at her computer screen.

That’s the attitude of the meek: passively waiting around for someone else to wave a magic wand and make all your problems disappear.

But the meek shall inherit nothing.

Only those willing to take action will get the results. Only those willing to stop holding ground and start moving forward.

If this person had taken a few weeks to try the workouts (I give em 60 days, after all), and said, “Hey, they’re not working,” then no problem. Respect.

But that never happens.


Because the Tension Blaster Workouts always work.

They’re like pushups.

The only way they don’t work is if you don’t do ’em.

Get em here:

Tension Blaster Workout Series

Deploy Your Warrior Mind

Our world needs more Warriors.

And no, I don’t mean aggressive assholes picking fights.

I mean real Warriors. People who greet life with a Warrior mentality.

People accept challenges gratefully. People who don’t give in to self-pity, victim-playing, or blaming others.

It seems way too rare in our world today.

But sometimes you see it where you wouldn’t expect.

I was just down at the corner store by my house, and a guy in line asked how I was doing. Hey didn’t look homeless, but it was clear he wasn’t making the big bucks, either. I said I was all right, and asked back.

“Well, you know,” he said, smiling. “Better than some, worse than others. But that’s life, baby. That’s just the way it is. It’ll test you, but that’s life.”

Who knows what was going on with that guy, or what the rest of his life is like. But in that moment, he was a Warrior.

He wasn’t blaming anyone. He wasn’t asking for my pity. He didn’t vomit his emotions all over me. He was honest about having a hard time, and he marched on.

He was carrying his own weight.

It was a nice, little reminder of where real strength lies. You can be deaf, mute, in a wheelchair, and still face the world as a hero.

And you can be ripped, swole, able to do a million headstand pushups, and yet still be a needy problem child, screwing up everyone’s life around you.

So keep that in mind when you’re training Mental Toughness.

It’s not just about your sport, your goals, your competition, all the amazing things you’re going to accomplish, the amazing person you’re going to become.

It’s also the struggle of the every day.

Because whatever small challenge you’re facing right now, however insignificant it may seem–that’s the next step to achieving those goals, to becoming that person.

Nothing is insignificant. Everything adds up.

Put all those little challenges together, and they define your character. That’s who you are.

And you bring who you are to every competition. To every challenge that follows. You bring it everywhere you go.

That’s why you need a Warrior dose of persistence and resilience.

Things aren’t always going to go your way.

Mental Toughness doesn’t mean everything’s magically easy.

It means you know it’s gonna be hard, and you’re prepared.

It means you accept that there’s always going to be difficulties, challenges, surprises.

And instead of running in the other direction, you stand strong, and say, “Bring it on.”

Or as Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher said, “Bring hardships, bring imprisonment, bring ignominy, bring condemnation. Bring death before and you’ll know who I am.”

You feel the craziness, feel the fear, and you do it anyway. And you do it until one day, the fear just isn’t there anymore.

You welcome it because you know it’s making you stronger. It’s teaching you lessons. You may not even know what the lessons are until years later.

Nothing gets stronger without resistance. Not your muscles, not your mind.

That’s the gift of adversity.

It’s not all sweetness and light out there, as the “positive thinking” crowd would have you believe. It’s not all fun.

But if you embrace those tough times, dive right into the middle of them–that’s how you find out what you’re made of. It’s how you define what you’re made of.

Fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up….

That’s the cycle. It’s not that falling down is a tragedy. It’s that getting back up is the point.

And a strong mind softens every fall.

The Conan the Barbarian School of Peak Performance

There’s a lot you can learn from Conan the Barbarian.

How to become a great leader, how to rise up against incredible odds, how to maintain a reputation as a fearsome warrior while wearing furry underpants.

But my favorite Conan lesson comes from a story my friend Ryan told me over beers.

It was district finals in varsity wrestling. Ryan was injured, sick, and ready for the last fight of his high school career to be over.

He was an excellent wrestler, but his heart wasn’t in it. It was more of an obligation than a passion, and in just one match, the obligation would be over.

Ryan had dominated the district that year. Only one guy had beat him, but that guy almost beat him twice.

And that’s who he was wrestling for his last match.

His coaches were worried. They could tell he was considering giving up.

And then, out of nowhere, the momentum swung in the other direction. Here’s how Ryan told it to me:

A light switch went on, and I was fearless. Nothing mattered at all. It was a vacuum of all emotional content, and it happened in a flash. Everything became slow. I started laughing because I thought, this is how Michael Jordan must see everything.

I turned to my coach, who was a big Conan the Barbarian fan, and quoted the movie: ‘You will hear the lamentations of their women.’ He knew what I meant.

I lost every worry, I didn’t care what others thought. I was over it. All my cares in the world were annihilated. It transcended wrestling. It became part of everything. I felt like I had expanded through the entire gymnasium. It wasn’t even confidence. It was pure annihilation.

And then I became angry, a peaceful and controlled rage, laser beam focus. I thought, I’m gonna give everything I have, to the point I might die. I just knew, there is nothing you can do. I am going to destroy you. I had total control of the situation.

Things happened in that match that I would consider to be miraculous.

He pinned and 15-pointed his opponent at the same time, which if you don’t know wrestling (I didn’t) is pretty much the most you can dominate a person.

Today we’d call that a peak experience, or a peak performance. Back in ancient Greece, they called it an aristeia.

When a warrior had an aristeia, he temporarily owned the battlefield. They’d say the god of war was with him. No one know when it would come, or when it would go, but when it happened, everybody knew. There’s a whole chapter in the Iliad about the the aristeia of the hero Diomedes during the Trojan War. This kind of thing has been around for a very long time. Its roots go deep.

But I doubt you’ll ever be able to make an aristeia happen on cue. It’s too immense, and too mysterious to think you can control it. But you can take steps to get closer to that peak performance mindset, and increase the chances of it occurring.

Go back and look at Ryan’s description again. Notice the ingredients. It boils down to those two keys to Mental Toughness:

Low stress, and high dominance.

This is the kind of state you get closer to every time you release the energies bound up in your tensions. And when you work on it consistently, the results become permanent.

That’s the thing about the peak experiences: you always have to come down from the peak. If you want to make real, lasting impact on your Mental Toughness, you gotta do the work.

What Is NRW?

Whatever your sport or skill level, Neuromuscular Release Work (NRW) can improve your game and life dramatically by blasting your tensions and releasing the primal energies within. If you're looking to improve your mental toughness, competition readiness, focus, motivation, and turn your nerves into confidence, NRW can help.


Riley Holland

8954 N Portsmouth Ave.

Portland, OR 97203-5976

Who Is Riley Holland?

footerRiley Holland is the world’s leading expert in Neuromuscular Release Work (NRW), and is recognized as an authority on the mental game by athletes and sports psychologists alike. He has studied a wide variety of methods, both ancient and modern, for relieving stress and tension and increasing mental toughness. Now he coaches and teaches NRW, which he has found to be the ultimate method of mental training. Read More...