Are We Getting Better with Age? Or Worse?

Tom Brady turned 40 yesterday. And if you’re not a fan of the NFL, or are from another planet, this name won’t mean anything to you.

I’m not a Patriots fan but I have to give credit where credit is due. And Brady is the GOAT. He’s the only 5 time Super Bowl champion in league history. And not only did he win his most recent SB at the age of 39 he’s now back in camp getting ready for a run at another title. Because at his age there’s nothing left to play for than titles.

He certainly doesn’t need the money. But not just because his net worth is estimated at 180 million. It’s because his wife, supermodel Gisele, is worth more than 360 million.

It's not bad being Tom Brady.

It’s not bad being Tom Brady.

But it all didn’t come easily for Brady.

At Michigan he was as low as 7th on the depth chart in college.

At the 2000 NFL Draft, 198 players were taken ahead of him before the Patriots grabbed him in the 6th round.

Who knew, right?

Would you have drafted a player that look like this?

Is it just me or can anyone else see Dwight from the Office?

Is it just me or can anyone else see Dwight from the Office?

At the beach he would look like a typical college grad.

There really was no reason to draft him ahead of Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger or any of the other quarterbacks taken ahead of Brady in that year’s draft.

Was it all just blind faith? Was it luck?

Or is there is a way to determine long term success?

The longer I work in this industry the more convinced I am that you can find the diamond in the rough.

And I’m not talking about moneyball or some other form of analytics to predict who will make it and who won’t. instead I’m referring to the things players do from a young age. What habits have been instilled? What kind of home life was there? Did success come early? Or easily? Did they play multiple sports?

Because ultimately talent is over-rated.

Let that sink in for a second.

For all the emphasis we put on athleticism it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the number one predictor of future success in sports.

Consider that 30 of 32 first round NFL draft picks played multiple sports in high school. Early specialization halts development while leading to burnout and potential injury.

Now I don’t mean to say that talent doesn’t matter. Malcolm Gladwell does a better job of answering that question in his book the Tipping Point. But once a threshold ability of talent is available great things can happen when that player develops, practices and hones his craft.

So why should this matter to you?

Because you and I and most people reading this aren’t the best in the world. We weren’t born with the speed of a Usain Bolt, the strength of The Mountain from the Game of Thrones or the ability to swim like Michael Phelps.

But for what we lack in ability we can make up a lot in preparation, planning and consistency. We can make it up a lot of this difference in what time we get to bed, what foods we eat, whether we train or not and our overall mindset about life and our situation.

And you should also care because the average is getting worse.

Fewer people get 8 hours of sleep per night.

More people eat lower quality nutrition and more of it.

More people lead sedentary lives and don’t get 30 minutes of activity everyday. ***sad fact…in Canada only 5% do***

This is concerning because we are the average of our peers. Want to know what your income will be like? Look at the people you hang out with. Want to know what your health will be like? Look at the people you spend time with. Want to know how much activity you’ll get this long weekend? Check what will your friends will be doing.

The take home message

You can be great. Not Tom Brady GOAT great. But great none-the-less.

You need to make small, positive decisions, consistently for a long time.

Hang out with people that are at where you want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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