Winning, One Play at a Time

Love em or hate em, the Patriots won the Super Bowl yesterday following a principle that we can all learn from.

How many times have you “cheated” on a resolution or a goal, and used that small failure to justify a larger one? You’re going along great with your new diet until someone comes to visit and craves a cheesesteak. Next think you know, you’re making agreements with yourself to “try again next week, it’s only one weekend.”

You reach the middle of the semester and get a bad grade on a test. Rather than doubling down and making up the points, you check out and coast through the rest of the semester. “What’s the point? The A is history anyhow.”

Well, the Patriots did something pretty interesting last night. Every statistic stood as a guarantee that they had no chance of winning that game at halftime. No team has ever come back from a 10 point deficit to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots were down 25. How’d they do it?

Easy: they stayed focused. They played their game, regardless of the score. Regardless of the odds. They just played it the way they always do. This was more than focus on the outcome or goal, it was focus on the process. They won the game one play at a time. 

So that’s the lesson. We don’t reach the top of our game in one grand move. We don’t win by never facing a setback. We don’t succeed in a course without ever missing a point. We don’t reach our goals in a single day. Focus on the process. Focus on winning one play at at time.

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