The most commonly referenced characteristic of those elite quarterbacks is the way they approach each little detail about the game.
From the time one game is over through the end of the upcoming one, they study. They look for little details that can predict what a defense is about to do so they can make the best out of the next play. On the field they look for a twitch of a linebacker's knee, the eyes of a safety, the shift of weight in a defensive lineman.
They take their time. No play is rushed. Even the hurry-up offense is carefully choreographed.
You might catch an average quarterback looking up at the scoreboard in between plays instead of down at the playbook. They are often too focused on the next “big play” that they miss the small opening for a 4-yard run on a 2nd and 3 if they call an audible at the line of scrimmage.
The secret is not that the elite quarterbacks are more patient by nature, or better athletes than the “average” quarterback. For the most part, at the professional level most quarterbacks have the raw talent and know-how to win any given week.
The game slows down for the Elite Quarterbacks because they take the time and effort to focus on the little details that most average quarterbacks miss. The game doesn't slow down. It just slows down “for them.”
In her book Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life, Gretchen Rubin documents a nine-month journey to making her home a happier place: a place of simplicity, comfort, and love, as she describes it.
In it she talks about several “Splendid Truths” about happiness, including one that “the days are long, but the years are short,” to describe how to increase happiness. It's best explained in video form.
“The days are long, but the years are short” originated from her first book, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, a #1 New York Times Bestseller.
The message hit home for several reasons, but mostly because of the simplicity of it.
But how can I slow down the years so they don't rush by and I wake up decades from now wondering where my life went?
I can't. Time will pass. And that's fine.
But I can take the time to look for and appreciate the little details every day, anticipate challenges and opportunities, be intentional to ignore the noise, and focus my efforts on what truly matters to my family in that moment.
That will create more success and joy in our lives.
Than can “slow down” our time.
A drive to school; a trip to the home improvement store; sitting home on the couch; those little moments that seem to just “fill time.”
These things are “life.” These are the details. This is where I can become “elite.”
And while the years won't slow down. They can slow down for me. For us. If I focus on making the minor moments memorable instead of sleep walking through them and waiting for the next big play.
What little routine thing do you rush through every day? And what can you do to make it memorable?
Don't be afraid to think too small. One dad even made waiting for the school bus memorable… and an Internet sensation.