Gentlemen, This is a Football (Beginning Again)

Vince Lombardi, legendary football coach, would start each season with the line “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He’d go right back to the beginning and right back to basics every year. These were paid professional football players, who’ve dedicated their life to the sport, and he went back to the beginning.

Beginnings hold hope. We’ve something like 84 chances a year to start again (according to Dan Pink in “When” – Mondays, firsts of the month, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays etc etc. They’re a natural source of motivation for us so we can harness this to start (or start again) towards what we want.

Simply begin again. According to Joseph Goldstein, this is the essence of meditation. Notice when your mind has wandered, you’ve lost your focus, and begin again. A lot of people don’t want to mediate because they think they can’t clear their mind. Every time you notice a thought and go back to focusing on the breath however, that is meditation. It’s not about clearing the mind.

Similarly, people can fear exercise because they’re not fit. Every time you struggle and get out of breath, i.e. feel unfit, that’s when you are getting fit.

“Don’t take the last play into the next one.” – George Mumford. Each time we start again, each new training session, new week, new training cycle, new round, we’ve the opportunity to take it as a fresh approach. We can harness the power of a fresh start to make this try independent of all the others and our best effort.

It’s a perfect time to begin again, to go back to the basics with a fresh approach. It’s the start of the month, a Monday, right after a major holiday, and the start of our off season. Consciously beginning again provides us with immense hope and possibility to achieve anything we aspire to. All it takes is a simple recommitment to the beginning.

“Stick to the basics and when you feel you’ve mastered them it’s time to start all over again, begin anew – again with the basics – this time paying closer attention.” Coach Greg Glassman.

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