In life, true alignment with the world around you leads to growth. There’s a subtle energy that speaks to you if you listen.
It’s about realizing the importance of others. It’s about attaining a kind of understanding. It’s about being humble, and having gratitude for the world around you. It’s about having a trust and respect for people.
When you have all of that, you have a kind of inner peace.
That’s who I am as a person when I’m at my best. And I try to mirror that on the football field. When I do, I’m in a state of flow.
At practice recently, the offense was coming off the field and we were heading on. As Doug Baldwin jogged past me, he said, “You have to die daily.”
I’ll be honest: I had no idea what Doug was talking about. So I gave him a thumbs up, and continued through the rest of the day.
But I kept thinking about it for a while afterward. “You have to die daily.” There was something about that spoke to me and to my spirit. And the more I thought, the more I realized what it was about.
It’s easy to fall prey to a kind of hero mentality on the football field, and there’s a lot of ego wrapped up in that. I think you need some of that. There’s a fire in me that’s burning because of my pure love of the game. And there’s also a discipline I try to have about how I play, and a lot of that is centered on how I think about myself.
But Doug’s words really challenged me. They begged me to react to what he said, and they asked me to think. And I realized something that has occurred to me many times in my career as a football player: I can learn a lot from my teammates when my mind is clear.
He was right. My ego has to die daily. It needs to be that way for all of us. We need to get past the limits of who we are and what we know, and open ourselves to experience and understanding. Because when we do that — when we kill our ego — it actually helps us to achieve the highest and best expression of who we are, and who we were made to be.