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← My secret to staying focused under pressure

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Showing Revision 8 created 07/13/2020 by Erin Gregory.

  1. June 8, 2010,
  2. Russell Wilson, fourth-round pick
    to the Colorado Rockies baseball.
  3. I'm fired up,
  4. one of the highest moments of my life.
  5. Every kid's dream to be drafted
    by a Major League Baseball team.
  6. June 8, 2010.
  7. June 9, 2010 --

  8. (Imitating flatline sound)

  9. The line goes flat.

  10. My dad passes away.
  11. The highest of the high
  12. to the lowest of the low.
  13. Just like that.
  14. My dad laying in his deathbed,
  15. just tears running down my face,
  16. you know, what do I do next?
  17. My mind racing, memories,
    flashbacks, moments,
  18. early mornings, getting up,
  19. taking grounders and throwing,
  20. speed outs and deep post routes
    to my brother and my dad,
  21. to early morning car rides
    to AAU baseball,
  22. to my dad being the third-base coach.
  23. Fast-forward to the championship high
    of winning a Super Bowl,

  24. holding up the Lombardi Trophy
  25. and the emotions
    and the excitement of it all,
  26. blue and green confetti all over the place
  27. and knowing that you just
    won the Super Bowl,
  28. to a year later, the pressure of the game,
  29. the ball on the one-yard line,
  30. and this is the chance to win the game,
    and it doesn't work.
  31. And however many millions
    and millions of people
  32. all over the world watching.
  33. And having to walk to the media,
  34. and what do I say next,
    what do I do, what do I think?
  35. Being married at a young age

  36. and just coming out of college
    and everything else,
  37. to, you know, shortly after,
    marriage not working out
  38. and realizing, you know what?
  39. Life happens.
  40. Life happens, life happens to all of us.
  41. Loss of family members, divorce,
  42. fear, pain, depression, concerns, worries.
  43. When you think about
    being superpositive --
  44. yes, I'm positive by nature,
  45. but positivity, you know,
    it doesn't always work,
  46. because when you're down 16-nothing
    in an NFC championship game,
  47. and people are like,
  48. "Russ, we're not going to be able
    to win this game, man,
  49. it's not a great situation right now,"
  50. or when you're facing cancer,
  51. or when you have things
    you have to deal with
  52. or finances and this and that,
  53. like, how do we deal with it?
  54. It's hard to be positive
    in the midst of it all.
  55. And what I definitely knew was this:
  56. that negativity works
    100 percent of the time.
  57. Negativity was going to get me nowhere.
  58. I started saying to myself,
    "New are his mercies every morning,"

  59. new beginnings, new starts.
  60. And despite hardship and pain
    and worries and wanting to get through it
  61. and "How do I do this?",
  62. I started thinking about a car.
  63. You know how when you drive a car,
    you've got stick shift
  64. and you want to shift to neutral?
  65. You go from first gear to second gear,
    all the way to fifth?
  66. You've got to know
    how to shift to neutral.
  67. And I needed to shift to neutral
    immediately, before I crashed.
  68. Sitting there after the Super Bowl,

  69. I had a decision to make:
  70. Will I let this define my career?
    Will I let it define my life?
  71. Hell, no.
  72. What I found out was this:
    that mindset is a skill.
  73. It can be taught and learned.
  74. I started 10 years ago,
    training my mind,
  75. with this guy named Trevor Moawad,
    my mental conditioning coach.
  76. He's been with me for 10 years,
  77. and we've been best friends
    and partners ever since.
  78. As athletes, we train the body,
  79. we train ourselves to be able to run fast,
    throw farther, jump higher
  80. and do these different things,
  81. but why don't we train our mind?
  82. What do you want
    your life to look like?
  83. Write it out, talk about it, say it.
  84. What's our language,
    what does it look like,
  85. watch these highlights, Russell,
    when you're in your best moments.
  86. What does that look like?
  87. And be that, live that, sound like that.
  88. The best free throw shooters,
  89. they don't worry about
    the shot they just missed.
  90. They think about this shot,
  91. this putt, this throw, this first down.
  92. Then I met this kid
    Milton Wright, 19 years old,

  93. he had cancer three different times.
  94. This day when I went to see him,
    he was frustrated,
  95. "Russ, I'm done,
    I don't want to do this anymore,
  96. it's my time to go."
  97. I started telling him
    this story about my dad,
  98. how he used to say, "Son, why not you?
  99. Why don't you graduate early,
    play pro football and pro baseball?
  100. Why not you, why not you?"
  101. I said, "Milton, why not you?
  102. If you tried T-cell therapy,
  103. and you try this and it doesn't work,
  104. you won't remember it."
  105. So Milton got a smile
    on his face and said,
  106. "You're exactly right.
  107. Yes, I do have cancer, Russ.
  108. But I can either let this kill me,
  109. not just physically,
  110. but I can also let it kill me
    emotionally and mentally.
  111. And I have a choice right now,
    in the midst of the problem,
  112. in the midst of the storm,
  113. to decide to overcome."
  114. One of the questions I always get asked
    about neutral thinking is this:

  115. "Does that mean I don't have any emotion?"
  116. And I always say, absolutely not.
  117. Yeah, we have emotions,
  118. we have real-life situations,
  119. we have things to deal with.
  120. But what you have to be able to do is
    to stay focused on the moment
  121. and to not be superemotional.
  122. It's OK to have emotions,
    but don't be emotional.
  123. When people look at me,

  124. they see that I'm the highest-paid
    player in the NFL,
  125. they see that I have the girl and Ciara,
  126. that I have the family and this and that.
  127. But I still have real-life situations.
  128. We all do.
  129. We all have, you know, sadness and loss
  130. and depression and worries and fear.
  131. I didn't just get here.
  132. What's the truth,
  133. and how do I come through this better?
  134. And that's really, kind of,
    how my mind started shifting.
  135. It was not just on the success of it all
    or the failure of it,
  136. it was on the process, like:
  137. What is the next step,
    how do I do this right here, right now?
  138. We have a choice to make in life.

  139. And for me, when I was young
    and I didn't have much,
  140. I made a choice.
  141. I made a choice
    that I was going to believe
  142. that great things were going to happen,
  143. that I was going to have my mindset right,
  144. and I was going to have
    the right language
  145. and the right things to think about,
  146. which helped prepare me for today.
  147. Because I'm just human.
  148. I just have the ability
    to throw the ball a long way
  149. and run around and make
    some cool and fun throws
  150. and make some people smile.
  151. But the reality is
    that I still have pressure,
  152. I still have worries, I still have fears,
  153. I still have things that happen.
  154. Still have loss.
  155. Positivity can be dangerous.

  156. But what always works is negativity.
  157. I never wanted to live in negativity,
  158. so I stayed in neutral.
  159. I kept my shift in neutral.
  160. And so that's where I lived,
  161. and that's where
    I've been living ever since.