Prominent NFL quarterback Andrew Luck recently retired abruptly from the game of football at the age of 29 - leaving my hometown of Indianapolis in shock and disbelief.
As a life coach who pays attention to the best competitors in the world, I’m not as surprised as most. What I see out of Luck is a person who is actively paying attention to what he values - something most of us struggle with - and making sure that his life conditions line up with his life blueprint.
At the same time the 29 year old is stepping away from the sport, the 42 year old Tom Brady is stepping into another season looking to defend the Super Bowl title he won at age 41 and trying to prove that he has found the fountain of youth.
Brady, like Luck, pays attention to what he values and lives his life accordingly. They just both came up with completely different answers to the question of “what really matters?” in life.
These two men, while both premier NFL quarterbacks, couldn’t be much different. Luck was a natural talent and an exceptional athlete. He was highly touted out of college and selected with the idea that he was going to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. On top of that, he played with a true sense of joy. He was almost always smiling. He would pat the helmets of defenders who had just sacked him to almost congratulate them or to indicate in a friendly manner that “you got me.”
Brady, on the other hand, while tall enough to be an NFL quarterback, lacks the athleticism required to play the position in 2019. He is notoriously slow - in fact his combine 40 yard dash is basically a comical video on YouTube. He was selected late in the draft and couldn’t even lock down the starting job at the University of Michigan when he played in college. Unlike Luck, I don’t know that I have ever seen him smile during a football game. He plays to win and he lives his life to win like he has something to prove to everyone who let him slide into the 5th round.
Brady once said that "if you're going to compete against me, you better be willing to give up your life because I'm giving up mine." Luck said that the most fun he has is just throwing around the football with the guys.
Two different approaches to the game and two different approaches to live.
What can us normal humans learn from these two totally different men? The answer is a clarity of purpose.
Brady, from what I can gather, values winning and significance above all things. So much so that he puts an amazing amount of effort into what he eats, how he prevents injuries, he misses time with his family, and even the pajamas that he wears to sleep are said to facilitate recovery. Luck values joy and the connection he has with his family and friends. When Brady released his fitness system, someone asked Luck about his diet and he sort of fumbled for an answer and said that he likes cheese. He played the game until it no longer brought him joy and then he cared so little about the significance given to him by the fame and the money that he was clear enough to just walk away and do what is next with his life.
There’s a lot you can take from these two men to better your own life, but above all, you should ask yourself if you are as clear in your values as they are. Do you know exactly what states are important to you and what you value in life? Or are you just working off what society and marketers tell you that you should value?
If you want to have the confidence and boldness of a guy like Andrew Luck or Tom Brady, it starts with knowing yourself. Once you have that, you’re much closer to a fulfilling life than you are right now.
Your life coach.