Let me ask you a question. When you are competing for something, a game, a sale, or even pursuing a romantic relationship, what creates the greater emotional response? Winning? Or losing? Someone saying yes to your invite on a date, or someone saying no? When you think back on competitions you have been in throughout your life, do the painful ones present themselves to your memory more quickly than the exciting ones? Or is it the other way around?
Playing in two super bowl games gives me a pretty unique perspective when it comes to reaching the highest levels of success. In Super Bowl XLVIII, we absolutely dismantled the Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I stayed up until about five o’clock in the morning watching Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform for the Seahawks organization. Everyone was in complete ecstasy continually saying to one another “I can’t believe we just did that!”
The next year, inches away from winning back to back Super Bowls, we threw the ball on the one yard line…and you know the rest of the story. Malcolm Butler made the play of his life, which left the entire Seahawks organization with a sense of agony that none of us have forgotten. At the after party, Drake performed, and it was SO awkward, as he tried to help make everyone not feel so horrible. I tried everything to get my mind around the sense of grief I was feeling. I remember being in my hotel room at three in the morning watching the movie “The Box Trolls,” in an attempt to get something on the outside, to make me feel ok on the inside. It didn’t work. Nothing really ever seems to in situations like that. Joy is an inside job.
In 1979, Nobel Memorial Prize winner Daniel Kahneman came up with something called “Prospect Theory.” In it, he proposed people are more likely to be dissatisfied with a loss than they are satisfied with a gain.
So let me ask you again, “Do you love to win, or hate to lose?” Does your mind have a propensity to focus on the negative? I would argue its in all or our makeup to do just that. Not because we are bad horrible people, but because our brain is a powerful organ which identifies threats and possible pains, and does everything in its power to preserve our life and sense of joy.
What I’ve realized is if I want the full life I believe God paid a price for me to enjoy, it is going to require me training my brain to be on the lookout for good, and keep short accounts with the pain I’ve experienced. I must push past the temptation I experience every single time someone ogles over my Super Bowl ring, of saying, “yeah, but I almost had two.”
To be the kind of individual, who readily has a sob story of my most recent pain, (one that causes me to quickly forget the fact that I actually won a Super Bowl the year before), will only create more of a victim mindset. I don’t want to go down that road. We have the power to choose where our focus will be. I can choose to focus on the negative or the positive. I’m learning to accept getting a bad deal in one particular situation, because i’m getting such a good deal from God.
The truth is that I am not my own, I was bought at a price. In the book of Ephesians, it says “I am His workmanship…” not, “my workmanship.” When I gave my life to Jesus, I gave up my right to complain. The more I find a sense of ingratitude creep up in me, by being readily able to replay a situation which didn’t go the way I wanted, the more i’m realizing i’m on the increase, instead of Jesus.
Maybe you’re like me, and you occasionally find yourself fixed on the negative, far too often. What i’ve discovered is focusing on whats right, is the birthplace of grit. Training your mind to be grateful, will keep you showing back up when you want to complain. I haven’t arrived, but I know the key to get there. If we can live with that awareness, we win. Heres to loving the process of God putting us back together again.