Michael Lombardi is a former NFL coach, GM and front office strategist who is largely responsible for introducing Stoic philosophy to professional sports. In 2014, he read The Obstacle is the Way and spread it around the locker room of the New England Patriots. They went on to win the Super Bowl that year and Stoicism became a favorite of teams not just in football but in the NBA, MLB, the NHL and many other sports. Lombardi spent the last few years writing his own book, and it’s brilliant--a lifetime of wisdom on sports, leadership and life. The book is called Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL and we were lucky enough to interview him for Daily Stoic about two important Stoic concepts--how to do with winning and losing. As he told us about heartbreaking defeats,
"In the NFL most teams exaggerate the wins and forget about the losses. Belichick is the same with both. He does an autopsy after each game and understands there is a fine line between winning and losing. The outcome is significant, but the process has to be the same after each game. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Chess champions keep their emotions in check because they are in deep thought. The same deep thinking should happen after a win or loss."
And what about when you win?
"The best way to win is first not to lose. How to avoid losing, is the first step to having any success. Great coaches must have a system of checks and balances to assist them in assessing their team. Working in football is much like being in the veterinarian business. The patient cannot speak. Therefore a coach must establish a set of checks and maintain discipline after the good and the bad."
That sounds a lot like Stoicism. Absorb the losses--but learn from them. Accept the winning--but don’t let ego creep in. Maintain excellence, always.
Mike’s book is great. Check it out: Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL