“You want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it.” – Maya Angelou
Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals was not drafted. The Pro Bowl linebacker has had an amazing season, and, yet, no NFL team was willing to use a coveted draft pick on him. “Not being picked, going undrafted I have a big chip on my shoulder and I’m ready to hit somebody,” Burfict told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Tom Brady is arguably one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Despite winning multiple championships and having record breaking seasons, as a QB out of college, he wasn’t drafted until the 6th of 7 draft rounds. Per Brady, “It’s never come easy for me. I don’t think my mind allows me to rest ever. I have, I think, a chip on my shoulder, and some deep scars that I don’t think were healed.”
David Eckstein is 5’7″. As Major League Baseball has transformed, a 5’7″ guy stands out like a sore thumb. “The odds have been against Eckstein since he was in youth ball, when coaches began telling him he was too small to play.”
I have no scientific data to back this up. I have no studies proving my point. I have experience. I can’t stand being told no. I can’t stand being told I can’t do something. If you know me, you know that David Eckstein’s 5’7″ impresses me. I’ve been called too small my whole life. So, when I hear about Brady or Burfict being passed over for one reason or another, or Eckstein being told he’s too small, I can empathize. At some point or another, we’ve all been told we’re not good enough, big enough, smart enough or good looking enough. Some folks let that be the end of the story and buy in to those thoughts. Others turn out to be Tom Brady, Vontaze Burfict or David Eckstein.
There has to be something about the human brain that disallows us from accepting ‘no’ or ‘not good enough’. I purposely labeled this post “Do Not Read This” for a reason: to see if you would do it anyway. This is a small example. Athletes often use negatives as motivation. Tom Brady carries a chip on his shoulder for being passed over by every single team multiple times. Same with Burfict. Eckstein wanted to prove everyone wrong. All of these guys did exactly that.
Noah and I have discussed turning negatives into positives on other occasions. It’s a theme worth revisiting, so don’t be surprised to see it pop up again in the future. You’ve heard the saying that life isn’t just what happens to you but how you react to what happens to you. I find that to be infinitely true, and I’ll add this: Your self worth cannot be tied to other people’s expectations, because they are just that…other people’s expectations.
Refuse to become what your detractors believe of you. Keep that motivation in your back pocket.
Have an awesome Saturday,