Athletics and the creative arts are different in a lot of ways. Namely the idea of winning and losing. Winning certain yearly events drives so much effort in sports whereas with creativity there is no real “championship” to win or lose. However, when it comes to mindset, personal development, and dedication, there is so much creatives can learn from professional athletes. Let’s take a dive into the mind Tom Brady and some of sports most celebrated championships and see how their wisdom applies to artistry.
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Recovery > Championships
Serena Williams is the paragon of modern tennis. Across 25 years she has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, and boasts a professional record of 851 – 147. She has won almost six times as many matches as she has lost.
Everyone would agree that she is a champion, but what does it mean to be champion?
“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” – Serena Williams.
When Serena looks back on her career, she isn’t most proud of the wins. She’s most proud of the recoveries. The times she felt like giving up, but didn’t. Why? Recoveries like that aren’t on highlight reels. They aren’t measurable like a win/loss record.
These recoveries are so important because they are what allowed her to win. What would happen if Serena gave up the first time she fell? She would never have won another match. Everyone feels like giving up sometimes whether they’re an athlete or a creative or anything else. If you do give up, that’s the end. If you keep going after you fall, you already are a champion.
Who Needs Talent When You Can Work Hard?
Oxford Dictionary defines “talent” as: “natural aptitude or skill”
For further clarification, Oxford Dictionary defines “natural” as: “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.”
So, in short, talent is skill that exists without conscious human effort. History has demonstrated that talent is a real thing. Mozart was 8-years-old when he wrote his first symphony. Clearly there’s some natural ability happening there.
But here’s the rub, if talent is natural, can anyone control how much talent they have? No, right? If it comes from nature, it would be like trying to control how tall you are. So, what can we control? We can control how hard we work, and that’s how Derek Jeter won five world series:
“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that.” – Derek Jeter
Everyone’s amount of talent is set in stone, which means in reality it’s the starting skill level. The bottom. No matter where your bottom level is, you can raise your level by working hard. Do you want to stay at the bottom or do you want to ascend?
Always Growing With Tom Brady.
Tom Brady was statistically the greatest quarterback in history even before he won his seventh Super Bowl championship. Each Super Bowl ring he has is bigger and more bejeweled than the last, so which one do you think Brady’s favorite?
“You wanna know which ring is my favorite? The next one.”
What does Brady mean by that? He has seven rings to choose from, after all. From Brady’s perspective, until he finally hangs up his football cleats for the last time, he can always win another Super Bowl ring. He just won his seventh at the age of 43 what’s so far fetched about him winning an eighth?
To Brady, there is no plateau. There is no point where he can relax. He recognizes the fact that growth is always possible, and the same thing applies to creativity. Is there ever a point where your music will never be able to improve? Not unless you decide there is. Music is an endless journey. Why would you treat it as anything but?