This Sunday is Super Bowl 50.
You have the old guard, Peyton Manning, possibly the best player in the history of the NFL playing what could possibly be his last game ever and it’s for the Championship. He’s old, slow, and far from healthy but has one of the best brains in football.
On the other side you have the young upstart Cam Newton. He’s already done something Peyton Manning couldn’t and can’t – won an NCAA National Championship. He’s young, built like a linebacker but somehow still fast. He can beat you in the air or with his legs.
They’re as different as two quarterbacks can be. Both in style and standing. But they have one thing in common,
They want to win.
Despite what you think of football or the mounting criticism towards the NFL, a good quote is a good quote. Here’s some from players and coaches to keep you going no matter what you do:
That question you can ask yourself every day. What are you doing today to better yourself for tomorrow? Are you doing something to improve? Are you staying the same? Working today make yourself better tomorrow. That’s what life is all about.
You are in control always, either reactively or proactively. If you’re not doing what you want to do, you are doing what someone else wants you to do. Be proactive, make your own change. Choose Yourself.
Everybody wants to be a winner. But it’s those that put the work in that will reap the benefits of their efforts. It’s not just work but the willingness to work in a person that makes the difference. A football game is 60 minutes. At most it takes 3.5 hours to play but it takes a whole week to prefer for. Practices, walk through, meetings. It’s not necessarily the team with the best players or record that wins a game it’s the team that prepares, has the best game plan and executes when it matters. It’s 90% preparation.
What you did yesterday is irrelevant today. Unless you’re one of the people who won that $1.4 billion Power Ball draw but odds are, you’re not. True success isn’t a one-time thing or a flash in the pan. It is day to day dedication and consistency that’s what makes you great and, if you’re Watt, it’s what gets you a $100 million contract.
Your attitude determines your outcome and, subsequently, your income. And it’s not just your own attitude, it’s those around you. Your attitude affects them and their attitude affects you. Be confident, be positive and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.
Ability is great but, for the most part, secondary. Your attitude and your discipline are what truly make the difference. The stories of great athletes, great workers and great leaders that constantly go above and beyond are much more frequent than those who made it big on talent alone. You have to work for it.
If you are nervous about taking a test, giving a presentation or having a meeting with a client or your boss, the less prepared you are the more nervous you will be. Preparation and practice are key.
Yoda had some good points but another fictional character – Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights – may have had more. And, despite what Yoda said about do or do not – there is a ton of benefit to trying. It’s all in the try. Fail or succeed but try. Then get up and try again.
Aim high. In any football game, financial quarter or fiscal year you are never going to be perfect. The 1972 Miami Dolphins being the only exception.
You’ll have more failures than successes. Strikes and gutter balls. Perfection is an asymptote. You can get close to the line, but you will never touch it. What’s more important is the pursuit. To want to be perfect rather than actually doing so. Because being less than perfect is still pretty damn good.
In the realm of professional football, you probably don’t want this quote attributed to you. But, hey, in life that’s not a bad attitude to have. No matter your standing at any point, whether you are where you want to be or not you can always look on the bright side of your potential. Always know that the room for improvement is vast and this is a good thing. Whether you’re under-educated, under-read, or under-paid don’t focus on where you are but where you can go.
Quitting is easy. If you’re out for a run, lifting weights, holding a yoga pose, trying to hit a deadline – the easiest thing to do is stop. The pressure is gone. But the relief is temporary.
This is Stoicism 101. It’s not about how other people behave or the situations that life puts us in but it’s our reaction to those things. That’s the power we have and, depending on your attitude, that’s either a great thing to push us forward or something that will keep us down. There is always the choice.
You’re never going to finish with a perfect record in football or in life. It’s not the losses that weigh on us, but the “what ifs?” that will lead to regrets and looking back. If you can know just one thing in life – that you always gave you best. That you truly tried your hardest then, regardless of outcomes you should have no regrets.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for ourselves. For motivation, for discipline, for success. All the quotes and inspirational posters mean nothing without the inner fuel to propel yourself. It’s like a law of physics, matter cannot be created or destroyed.
Okay, so, that was 14 quotes to inspire you even when you take the sport out of the equation – they are quotes by football players and coaches about the game but they can be taken verbatim and applied to any walk of life.
This last one needs some context.
Coming off a lop-sided 41-14 loss, the 2014 New England Patriots had a lot of questions to address. They had been the NFL’s example of consistency for over 10 years. But it looked like that time was coming to a close. The defense looked bad. Their MVP quarterback looked worse. The time was nigh. At a press conference the day after the game, there were lots of questions asked but coach Belichick only had one response:
But what went wrong? What changes are you going to make? How do you fix this?
How do you fix what went wrong? You don’t. You learn your lesson and you move on. And, despite that loss and despite some gas-law related controversy, the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that season. Belichick’s 4th as a head coach and 6th overall. It was all in that mindset. “We’re onto Cincinnati.”
After a loss, it was onto the next week and the next opponent.
After a win, it was onto the next week and the next opponent.
Learn from your mistakes, enjoy your victories, but have a short memory. It’s all about what’s next.
Here’s two more – Dedicated to both Cam Newton & Peyton Manning as they head into the Super Bowl: