The Mind that Endures

The mind that endures encompasses mental control, knowledge of your thoughts and emotions and our social behaviour. Firstly, an athlete must learn how to control the controllable and let go of the uncontrollable. They must also focus on concentration, mind stability, toughness, discipline and fear. From there, they must learn how their emotions, thoughts and physiological effects and feelings work together. Lastly, the SCARF model is an acronym for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness. This model helps us to label experiences that reduce our performance in life. It is more effective than to suppress an emotion.


The S.C.A.R.F Model



For people, status is about the ‘pecking order’ and importance of a person in their seniority. We hold a representation of status when speaking to one another. The affects mental processes in several ways (Zink, 2008). A person’s status increases when that person feels superior to another person. In terms of psychology, this activates the primary reward circuitry and increase dopamine levels in the brain – make the person feel pleasure and happiness.


People constantly try to predict the future. The brain craves certainty. For example, if you pick up a coffee the sensory system will sense the position of your fingers during the process. Your motor cortex interacts with your sensory system and predicts where to move your fingers next. This is a learned process and is stored in your memory based on expectations from your previous experiences. However, if the cup is different, maybe wet, you will pay attention more. The brain likes to know what is happening next – it craves certainty, so that prediction becomes possible.

Uncertainties can be debilitating. For example, if you do not know what you boss expects or if you job is not secure, you will worry and lose your sense of certainty.


Autonomy is a sensation of having choices. It is the perception of maintaining control in your environment. An increase in this autonomy is rewarding. People often leave a corporate job, for far less money, because they desire greater autonomy. When one lacks autonomy, or control, the experience is an inability to influence outcomes.


Relatedness involves decided who is in and out of a social group, or clique. It is whether someone is a friend or a foe to you. This is the driver of behaviour in many sports teams, as people naturally like to form tribes where they can have a sense of belonging to something.

The decision of whether a person is a friend or foe happens quickly and can impact the brain functioning. For example, when someone is a friend we perceive them to be like us; whereas, when someone is a foe, this is perceived differently.


Studies have proven that fair exchanges are rewarding. For example, Golnaz Tabibnia and Matthew Lieberman at UCLA showed that 50 cents generated more of a reward in the brain than $10 did. This is because the 50 cents was out of a dollar and the $10 was out of $50. This study illustrates that fair exchanges are rewarding.

The need of fairness can also be explained in terms of people doing volunteer work. This type of work generates a sense that the person is decreasing fairness in the world; therefore creating a positive response.

Other studies have shown that people who perceive others as unfair don’t feel empathy or pain for them and will sometimes feel rewarded when unfair people are punished (Singer et al, 2006).

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