Super Bowl LI is the greatest game is Super Bowl history with memorable plays from start to finish. The Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots demonstrated the power of purpose, intention, preparation throughout the entire game. What stands out for me, though, is this simple truth, and both teams demonstrated it on the field of play. He who hesitates loses. Hesitation destroys momentum. Decisive action creates greatness.
Great Decisions made without hesitation
Four plays stand out in my mind, all of which occurred during the last five minutes of the game. Well defensed by New England, Matt Ryan scrambled to his right, to avoid the pressure. He spots Julio Jones down field, along the sideline, and throws the perfect pass. Julio Jones makes the astonishing catch, managing to keep both feet in play. The defensive back had great position yet the precision and timing of the throw, coupled with Jones focus and concentration was phenomenal.
Julian Edelman made, arguably, a more spectacular reception a few plays later. Tom Brady, alluding pressure from the defensive line, throws into triple coverage. All of the players were in position yet, Edelman made his stunning grab. Focus and concentration by all of the players impressed me.
Later in the fourth quarter, Danny Amendola catches another Brady pass, this time crossing the goal line for a two point conversion. Amendola managed to get a few inches across the goal line for the score.
And, lastly, perhaps the best illustration of all, was James White’s winning touchdown in overtime. Brady pitches the ball to White, who is searching for a place to run. Cutting to his left, he meets two defenders just before the goal line. Yet, White managed to cross the plane by mere inches.
What makes these four plays memorable, the one common denominator, is the decisiveness of each play. All of the players were prepared and did what they were supposed to do. There was no hesitation.
Great moments frequently are preceded by decisive action. In athletics and the performing arts, most great moments are created through years of preparation and coaching. Talent obviously matters but more often than not, greatness comes from intentionality, from choosing to be great and doing the work necessary to succeed.
Pandemic of the mind
We, vicariously, live out the drama by following our sports teams. Their success or failure somehow translates to the self-image of many people. Our self-esteem rises, if only temporarily, when our teams win. Isn’t it also true that our self-esteem is impacted because we don’t have our own strong sense of self-worth?
Many of us, myself included, experience abnormally high levels of stress, anxiety, fear (it’s a long list). We doubt ourselves, judgments, abilities, talents and accept a lesser version of ourselves. Instead of making life happen, life happens to us. And we accept it as truth.
The reason why this Super Bowl was so powerful is not because one team, or one player excelled far above the others. The reason is this: we witnessed excellence in action and the excellence was characterized by powerful decision making, that is, action powered by decisiveness. There was no hesitation by any of the players in these four examples. They all performed the way that they were trained, even the players where the outcome went against them.
So the question becomes
The question becomes how do we personally grow and benefit from the excellence that we see? Do we need change the patterns of our thinking and, if so, how? If life truly happens to us, then how do you reverse the trend and regain what you are meant to be?
Mel Robbins, in her soon to be published book, “The 5 Second Rule”, illustrates her own personal journey of discovery and what research reports about the functioning of our brain. Her greatest insight is how we talk ourselves out of action, we hesitate, and that we can retrain ourselves (or with the help of others) into powerful living. Five seconds is all it takes for the roots of negativity, doubt, unbelief to move from our minds to inaction. By applying two simple techniques, we can regain control over our thoughts and launch ourselves in powerful thinking and results.
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