I hate Tom Brady.
It doesn’t matter which team the media hypes. The regular season itself doesn’t matter. It’s as if the rest of the NFL doesn’t exist, except for the New England Patriots.
As much as I hate Tom Brady (Packers fan), I secretly love, admire, and respect him.
He’s in that class I like to call “sociopathic athletes.” Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, and Serena Williams fall into this category as well.
When you watch them, you’re like:
“Aren’t you done?”
“Haven’t you won enough?”
“What is the point of training anymore? You’re good!”
I love these athletes because they represent something I care about deeply.
They represent the true love of competence. They work relentlessly to achieve a fleeting moment of success and barely celebrate when they’ve won — back to the gym, back to the film session, back to work.
This level of relentlessness isn’t for everyone. It’s not for most people, actually. But you can always learn something from truly world-class athletes or world-class people in general.
Speaking of athletes…Brady isn’t really an athlete in the traditional sense. Take off his uniform and stick him in a cubicle and he’d fit right in. That’s why his story is even more impressive. He’s the definition of earning success.
Here are some of my favorite lessons from the most annoyingly great athlete of all time.
I begrudgingly watched the documentary Tom vs. Time. The documentary detailed the process Brady uses to stay so successful and win absurd amounts of games every single year.
One moment struck me to the core.
He’s sitting in his office watching the film of old games. He knows many, hell maybe even all, the plays from individual games that happened years ago.
The camera lens zoomed in on his face and he said:
“I love watching film. I watch 8 hours of film every day. It’s fun.”
He was smiling, widely — like, Christian Bale American Psycho smiling. See, that’s the thing. He’s sick in the head. Nobody should enjoy grunt work that much. Nobody does enjoy grunt work that much, except for these rare breeds of people.
His coach, Bill Belichick, prior to becoming a head coach, gained a reputation as being the assistant would do the banalest and boringly tedious grunt work for the head coaches. The combination of the two equals constant success.
It’s hard enough to beat someone who simply practices. It’s almost impossible to beat someone who genuinely likes it that much.
The lesson here, for you: to whatever degree you want success in some area of your life, I’m certain you don’t practice nearly enough.
Almost daily now, I get emails from aspiring writers looking for my advice.
They don’t want the true secret to my success. I write a lot because I genuinely like to write. It’s not hard for me and I need zero motivation to do it.
Lesson number two: find something you enjoy doing. I’ve only been able to practice so hard because writing is my thing. I’m bad at pretty much everything else. I focus on what I’m good at. Back to Brady – he’s the worst athlete of all NFL QB’s, but it doesn’t factor into his mind at all. He focuses on his strengths and relentlessly practices.
In another part of the documentary, Brady is working with his long-time quarterback’s coach.
By this point in his career, he’d already won five championships. You’d think after all of that success, he’d let it go to his head. No, the opposite.
The coach is nit-picking his every move, on the verge of berating him, and Brady obeys him like an actual dog. Going over and over again like he’s playing fetch with zero signs of boredom or tiring.
The average person in society, who has almost no success, thinks they know everything. They’re not coachable. They won’t let go of their ego.
What about you?
Do you have your life figured out?
Do you have what you want?
If not, ask yourself why you have any reason to be reluctant when you get advice.
Again, most people don’t want to be success-sociopaths, per se, but you’ll do well to understand many skills are learnable.
Profitable skills are learnable. Your willingness to obey directions matters more than you know — as well as finding the right directions.
There are so many resources out there to help you live a better life, but no, you’re above that, right? Personal-development, business courses, seminars, etc are for dummies, right? You have it all figured out? Ok.
Almost all successful people have coaches. I have a coach. You don’t know what you don’t know. You have blindspots. Someone who can observe you from the outside can provide insights you wouldn’t have been able to see yourself.
Without my coach, I wouldn’t have quit my job to become a full-time writer. She pushed me to make a decision I couldn’t make on my own. I felt uncomfortable. I wanted to resist, but I listened. And got exactly what I wanted.
I buy books without blinking. I have coaches. I’m awaiting edits on my new book, which I’m sure will be so harsh I’ll get pissed, but that’s what I want. My schedule will soon fill up with seminars, training, more chances to learn.
Lesson: be coachable. Remove your ego. Become even more coachable the more successful you get.
Pro football focus just put out their annual QB rankings.
Take a wild guess at who’s number one?
He’s also the oldest quarterback in the league. He’s the oldest quarterback ever to be decent, let alone the best.
Simple — insane diet and exercise routine. He won’t touch anything that’s not within his extremely narrow list of approved foods, food even Trader Joe’s connoisseurs find to be bland.
The theme persists – the guy is just willing to do what you won’t. What no one will. Again, with a smile, because he wants to do it.
I’ve tried to take my own diet more seriously. Actually, I’m taking my whole life more seriously. As time moves forward, I’m making more sacrifices because I …want to.
Discipline creates freedom. The more you have of it, the better. And you know you need more. I don’t have to tell you that, but a reminder might help.
See, that’s the thing about success at varying levels.
Nothing is free in this world. Nothing. In many ways, not pursuing the ultimate success is quite good and healthy — advisable for most, really.
For me? I’m no Brady, but my mind is starting to get more focused. I’m starting to get more disciplined. It’s not even that I’m trying to avoid things like partying and junk food. It’s more like the level at which I’m pursuing my purpose now has dissolved those things from my consciousness.
Again, for you, the goal is probably not to become a world-beater.
Your lesson: I don’t have to know you to know you’re severely lacking in discipline. Also, I’m not going to tell you it’s easy to develop. Hell no. Hell, I’m not even going to tell you it’s worth having, just that you lack it. Do with that statement what you will.
Another reason people hate Brady.
He’s gotten lucky, a bunch.
The defense intercepted Russel Wilson when the Patriots were on the brink of losing Superbowl 49. There’s the infamous “tuck rule” game where Brady was stripped-sacked and the refs got the call wrong.
In classic, “rich get richer” form, the Patriots happened to have the most clutch kicker in the history of football, Adam Vinitari, who hit many improbable field goals on their Superbowl run.
But the Patriots also lost to Eli Manning and the Giants twice, both on fluke plays — an improbable catch and an improbable dropped pass.
In Superbowl 52 vs the Eagles, Brady was strip-sacked on what would’ve likely been a game-winning drive.
Whereas the normal person both underestimates the role luck plays in their success and overestimates its role in their failure, “Psycho Tom,” just keeps practicing relentlessly, whichever way the ball bounces.
Your lesson: Many legends are built on chance. But, fortune also favors the bold. In many sense, I’ve gotten lucky. I’ve been in the right place at the right time. But it’s much harder to get lucky and be ready for your moment if you aren’t prepared for it. Also, when luck just doesn’t go your way, crying about it doesn’t help — only practice and discipline do.
The entire NFL fan base hating Brady and the Patriots is a microcosm of society as a whole.
Most of us don’t want to admit:
Again, there’s a tradeoff involved. To be a top-tier CEO and get a ton of moolah, you kind of have to be an insane psychopath.
Many people who aim for that level of success, have a little bit of sociopathic bent to them. I think I have that.
Ambition isn’t something to praise or shun. It’s just a phenomenon that exists.
You have a certain level of it, innately. Whether or not you live up to it. Well, that’s on you.
The rest of the league can hate all they want. That many championships can’t be an accident. When it comes to the people you envy, while luck is involved, they almost assuredly work much harder or smarter than you do. Again, no moral judgment, just the truth.
The lesson here isn’t to stoke your desire: The true lesson is to understand the honest relationship between your effort and output. Take myself for example, as much as I practice, I don’t hide in a cave for five years and read a thousand books just to right one like Robert Greene does. As the rapper, Meek Mill said, “There are levels to this s***.” Understand the level you want to be at and understand the price you’ll have to pay to get it,
After everything I’ve just said, I have a counterintuitive message for you:
The true lesson from this entire post: everything has tradeoffs. You pay your debt one way or another.
Tom could be enjoying time with his family instead of practicing and going for a seemingly needless 7th championship. He and his wife have more money than they could ever spend. He doesn’t need to play at all.
He’s risking his life, literally. Most athletes do.
When he dies, he can’t take his rings with him. He’s chasing immortality that, depending on who you ask, he won’t be able to experience.
But that’s what he wants to do.
In my case, I’ve sacrificed a lot to get here. It’s a Friday afternoon as I’m writing this. Most people in my town are going to have fun with their friends. There’s nothing wrong with this, at all. But it’s not for me. Not right now.
Sometimes, I envy them – the people and their fun.
But on the whole, I don’t. Because I’m insane.
If this message applies to you in any way.
If you want to ascend to a rarified level of success in any way.
The equation is simple:
I’ll leave you with maybe my favorite quote from the documentary:
“If you’re going to compete against me, you better be willing to give up your life because I’m giving up mine.”