Concentrate While You Celebrate

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

The date: February 1, 2015. The occasion: Super Bowl XLIX.

The Seattle Seahawks needed a miracle and they got it.

Down by four points with just over a minute to go, it was clear that a mere field goal would not be enough to win the game. They needed nothing short of a touchdown. That’s when Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for 33 yards.

The pass was pretty good, but the catch was historical. It will easily be remembered as one of the most fantastic, improbable, and momentum-shifting catches in Super Bowl history.

Take a brief moment and check it out here:

You have to watch the replay in slow motion just to appreciate how unreal this catch was.

Surely, this was it! Surely, this was their magic moment. Surely, this was the sign they needed in order to be assured that the football gods were in their favor. How could this moment not be an omen of certain victory? After an amazing and improbable play like that, wouldn’t it seem natural to believe that destiny was on your side?

Well, it appears that the “football gods” had one more miraculous moment in store and this one would not favor the Seahawks.

After this amazing catch, the New England Patriots were now the team in need of hope. The Seahawks were on the one-yard line and they had the best running back in the NFL. This guy was so fierce that they called him “Beastmode.” In the eyes of nearly everyone watching, the plan of execution was simple: Give the ball to beastmode and let him rush into the end zone just as he had already done so many times before.

Perhaps that’s what *should* have happened, but what actually happened was that the Seahawks quarterback decided to throw a pass and a guy named Malcolm Butler shocked the world by intercepting that pass:

Here’s the replay if you’d like to see how it went down:

And that was it, folks.

Just like that, the Seattle Seahawks went from “It’s our time” to “What in the world just happened?” In the twinkling of an eye, they went from “Oh my gosh, how did he make that amazing catch?” to “Oh my gosh, how did he make that idiotic decision?” In less than a minute after having a magical moment, they had a tragic failure of execution.

I don’t mean to open old wounds for Seahawk fans, but there’s a valuable lesson here for all of us:

Stay focused during the bad times, but especially during the good times. It’s good to be grateful for the wonderful things that happen in life. It’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate magical moments that give you a reason to believe in something amazing. But don’t lose your head during the celebration.

This echoes my recently expressed sentiments on the first episode of The Praxis Night Shift with Derek Magill:

Never let the good moments compromise your ability to stay focused on what really matters. Because at the end of the day, games are not won by how loud the crowd screams over some exciting play that occurred. Games are won because the players stay focused and committed to the fundamental principles that got them in the position to be cheered for in the first place.

As the saying goes, “it ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

What’s your end zone? I can’t tell you. Only you can answer that question.

Here’s what I can tell you, though: Many people have come really close to getting into their personal end zones because of magical moments that worked in their favor. And just as many people have fallen short of the ultimate goal because they mistook one magical moment for a lifetime of destiny. They committed the fallacy of assuming everything would work out simply because the gods were on their side.

Don’t make that mistake.

Just as it’s dangerous for a person to believe that *nothing* is going to work out because of *bad* luck, it’s equally dangerous to believe that *everything* is going to work out because of *good* luck.

Your future isn’t destined. Your future is there for you to create.

Stay focused until the end goal has been reached. Until then, always concentrate while you celebrate.