Among all the clutter of end of the year “best of” and top ten lists, I came upon an interview with 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Michael Strahan, who was named by Barbara Walters as one of the Most Fascinating People of 2020.
In their sit-down, she brings up his father’s life philosophy. Strahan explains, “When, not if… He never told me if you do something.
It was never, ‘If you make it to the pros’ or ‘If you…’ It was always when. And for me, I never developed the attitude that something couldn’t be done.”
Complementing this thought process, I also read back in Novemember an online interview Anson Mount, star of Hell on Wheels, did with Entertainment Weekly.
[Remind me to tell you sometime my story about going apple picking with Anson Mount, my ex-girlfriend and her roommate.]
In response to the question of what great advice he has received in Hollywood, Mount recalled the following anecdote:
“My first Emmys party, I was introduced to Jon Hamm. I had just started doing Hell on Wheels, and I said, “Hey, man, do you mind if we talk?” “About working with AMC?” “
No, just kinda about the whole thing.” He said, “Oh, okay.” So we go and bum a couple of cigarettes from Aaron Paul, and Jon says, “So, what I keep saying to myself is, ‘Why not me?’” I was like, “What do you mean?”
He said, “Well, I grew up with this guy whose father was a professional baseball player, and then he got really into golf, and we would go golf with him sometimes.
We were on this one hole, and I’m like an 8-iron shot away from the hole, and his father’s up on the green and says, ‘Put the ball right here,’ and points to this exact spot on the green.
And I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ And he got really mad. And he said, ‘Why not you? Why not you? If not you? Somebody else.
Why not you?’” So Jon said to himself, “Why not me?” And he hit the ball exactly where the guy had been pointing.”
Two great ideas – “When, not if” and “Why not me?”
I bring these both up as the New Year quickly approaches and I find myself in that annual tradition of contemplating resolutions, as I am sure you are too.
We resolve ourselves to do better, but too often they are weighed down by our own rules and devices.
They are meant to help us live healthier, happier lives, but often become daunting tasks that feel like a chore rather than a natural extension of who we are.
So in 2021, rather than resolve to do something, which always takes on a negative tone, I am going to evolve my thinking and make this two ideas part of my everyday thinking.
It’s not if I hit a new PR in the deadlift, it’s when I hit that PR in the deadlift. It’s not if I do fifteen strict pull-ups in a row, it’s when I do fifteen in a row.
Building upon this, is the second – why, not me? Winning a CrossFit competition – why not me? Completing an Ironman – why not me? Getting that promotion at work – why not me?
They extend past sports and winning TV roles. They are clear ways to approach life. Both are about attitude and self-confidence.
Both are a mindset to live your best life, rather than just any life. In 2021, think differently.