In an article by Jenny Vrentas entitled, “Talking Football,” Vrentas highlights her interview with insightful comments from exceptional performer and former NFL quarterback, Joe Namath.
She began by asking Namath about Super Bowl XLIX—specifically regarding Tom Brady’s performance. Namath, thinking back to Otto Graham who played for the Cleveland Browns in the 1950’s, said, “He is great. No one has ever done it better.”
As someone who has played and followed football for decades, this is one of the best compliments Brady could have received. After all, Namath is an NFL Hall of Fame member. Some say that Namath is overrated, but I think if you consider his stats in context, his reputation holds up.
For example, the stats show he lost more games than he won, had more interceptions than touch-downs, had less than a 50% pass completion rating, yet literally changed the public’s perception of football beginning with his ‘guarantee’ regarding the results of Super Bowl #3 against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.
In this article I’m focusing on three attributes that contribute to someone being an exceptional performer—perseverance, receptiveness and thoroughness.
When you boil it down, perseverance is remaining steadfast in the face of obstacles. Grittiness is an important ingredient of success, although talent and opportunity play roles. Overall, however, gritty individuals are more successful than their less gritty peers overall. Perseverance and willpower are related. Will power is a mental muscle. You can train it. The reverse is true: if you don’t use willpower, your ability to pull through when it counts will degrade.
Let’s look at what Namath said in the magazine Sports Of The Times after he underwent knee surgery in 1992:
“I never played a down of pro football healthy. Not one down.”
Namath played 13 pro seasons. This amounts to hundreds of training sessions and around a dozen games per year. According to several writers and those who knew him best, “he never complained about his injuries or missed a game due to his injuries”.
Question: To what degree do you persevere in your goal to becoming the best trader you can be?
Most top performers are Type-A personalities. These individuals don’t want to be told what to do. What they do want is feedback from individuals they know and respect. This feedback helps them make informed decisions. Top performers are always analyzing the present situation, and they’re al-ways comparing that with their internal ideal. They make automatic course corrections toward this ideal, and the ability to take in quality information from the environment is a big part of this process.
When Namath played ball at the University of Alabama, he was coached by Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. Over his time there, he came respect and admire Bryant who ultimately had a profound effect on him and his life beyond the UofA. According to Namath, his respect for Bryant made him receptive to a new way of doing things. Coach Bryant had this to say,
“When Joe first came to our school, he was timid and shy. But he never lacked any confidence on the football field—and by the time he left here, he was a well-poised young man. I think Joe is the most talented player I’ve ever been around.”
When the NFL was pursuing Joe, he sought Bryant’s counsel. It wasn’t just about what team Namath should go with, or what pay he should accept, it was about which coach would help him grow as a professional ball player. That coach turned out to be Weeb Ewbank of the Jets.
Another example, which ties in with perseverance, is his commitment to preparation by watching the game films of his competitors over and over knowing that he was the one who had to determine the plays on the field in real-time. That’s different than today wherein most plays for most quarterbacks are determined by the coaches—not the quarterback.
Question: To what degree do you seek the counsel of those you respect?
Question: When you seek advice, are you asking about specific trading tactics, or are you more interest-ed in ‘going pro?’
Thoroughness (Beyond Football)
What is it to be thorough: your day is busy. You prepare for a trading session, you trade the session and then you study the trading day. You feed your professional life and your personal life by allocating time and energy to each.
For example, once Namath married he became a loyal and caring husband and father and, after getting a handle on his drinking, reinvented himself to the extent of leaving behind friends not supportive of his new direction with settling down and family.
When you live your life purposefully, you gain the ability to impact the world in a positive way. Joe Namath, after a monumental career, collaborated with Jupiter Medical Center to create The Joe Na-math Neurological Research Center. The center is dedicated to treating the debilitating effects of traumatic brain injuries regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
Question: To what degree do you consciously manage your time and energy?
Question: To what degree do you consciously expand your network?
Question: To what degree do you look out for ways to make a difference in your community?
Philanthropy is not just about helping others. It has a self-serving element. For example, most top performers help others because they are secure about themselves and their abilities. After all, how could you afford to donate your time or money if you weren’t doing something right? Based on our observations and experience, this confidence boost also has a positive impact on other things you do including your trading.
Until next time . . .