There is a saying that has been kicked around for years: “It is the Super Bowl every day.” So many people have used it, I cannot trace who said it first.
There is even a Twitter hash tag that uses the phrase as a portal. One author added the concept that in life there are no time outs. In this chapter, I wanted to expand on these concepts and look inside the locker room of life.
The concept of each day being the Super Bowl simply refers to the importance of living every day as if it is the most important day we have. Intellectually, we realize that some days are more important than others.
I may kick back for a day and do absolutely nothing productive or important all day (and sometimes getting needed rest is the most productive thing to do), yet to waste a day, or even an hour, is to squander our most important resource in life.
The two things that make something precious are inherent value and scarcity. By those two factors “time” is incredibly valuable because 1) it is all we have, and 2) nobody can get more than 24/7.
That condition is like the Super Bowl. It has a start time and an end time, but in the case of life, there are no reruns and no time outs. The game proceeds only forward and has a finite end.
Of what value is thinking in these dimensions? We often forget the fleeting nature of life, because most of us think we have decades yet to live. That is enough time to achieve numerous accomplishments and build lasting relationships.
Each day, each increment of time, seems insignificant, like a drop in the ocean. It is a mistake to think that way, because once a day is spent, it is gone forever. It is like another grain of sand dropping to the bottom of the hourglass of our life.
But life is not just about doing things. It is about enjoying what we do and building relationships that matter. It is the emotional connection we have with loved ones, not the things we have accomplished or acquired, that occupy our final thoughts as we prepare to leave this world.
I think the analogy of the Super Bowl works here as well. We do not play the game of life alone. We are on a team, surrounded by people we love, who help us play our best game possible.
We have coaches and support people who fix us up when we fall and help us rise to be our best in the game of life. It is how we treat others that determines how well the team plays together. If trust, respect, and love are carried in our hearts, the team will be a strong winning group.
One thing that every human on the planet shares is the knowledge that one day he or she is going to die. If you remember the movie, “Dead Poets Society,” that concept is what Mr. Keating (played by Robin Williams), was trying to instill in the freshmen at the Helton Prep School. It was the notion of “Carpe Diem,” or “seize the day.”
You may recall the riveting scene where Keating had the students line up and look in the trophy case at the pictures of former athletes who were dead and gone: their Super Bowl over.
He pointed out that the only difference between the boys he was addressing and the deceased athletes in the pictures was that the boys were alive that day. What a powerful scene!
See Video story about how the “Carpe Diem” scene saved a strategy meeting
I bring up the concept of carpe diem at the end of every leadership class I teach. I believe it is the responsibility of each of us to approach each day as if it was Super Bowl Sunday, and we are in the game.
Sure, there is time for rest and recuperation, just as winded athletes can sit out a few plays, but even as we rest, the game is still going on.
The good news is that there really is time for most of us to improve our game plan. It takes work, but it is rewarding to modify the future plays to obtain a more successful outcome. We can always foster better relations with the people we love and have more fun.
Every day is the start of a new game. Trust yourself, trust your “team,” and trust that life is playing out in a way that will eventually lead you to reach the goals you have set. The choice is up to each one of us every day. Make the right choice.
Key Concepts for this article
1. Today is the most important day you have.
2. The game always moves forward.
3. There are no time outs—the clock is always ticking.
Exercises For today
1. Intentionally break into your stream of consciousness at least once a day and ask yourself where you are right now. Are you sitting on the bench or are you playing in the game?
2. Are you happy with the job you did on the last play?
3. Do you have a good plan for your next play?
4. How are you treating your teammates who are helping you play the game?
5. Right now, are you playing offense or defense?
6. You have a general idea how much time is on the clock, but what if a fatal blow takes you out of the game early?
7. Have you made the most of the opportunities you have had along the way?
8. What will the spectators and your teammates remember about you and your life when it is over?
9. Visualize a time when you performed at an awesome level. Try to identify what forces enabled that level of performance. This is your personal prescription for greater zest in life.