Do you know who Nick Foles is? If you’re a football fan you probably do. If you’re an Eagles fan like me, you definitely do. But even if you think football is a complete waste of time, you should really pay attention to this Nick Foles thing. It’s important, and not just for the football.
Foles plays quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. And despite getting beat by the New Orleans Saints last weekend, giving me heartburn and triggering an episode of playoff-loss depression, Nick Foles reminded us of how to live. Not with his game play, but with his attitude and his approach to life.
What did he say? Something simple. A mantra he claims to live by. Live In The Moment. That’s it. Foles Magic explained.
When asked how he performed consistently at very high levels on football’s biggest stages and most high-pressure situations, Foles says that he tries his best to live in the moment. To enjoy and make the best of what that particular slice of life has to offer, and to focus on the task at hand, one simple piece at a time. Foles wisdom.
In football terms, Foles means just focusing on the play that was called. Not stressing out about what may or may not happen in the future. Not dwelling on the previous play. Just run the current play. After that, run the next play, and the next. The other things will take care of themselves. Deal with what you can control and let the rest go. Zen.
I started running several years ago and for a long time, could barely complete a 2-mile middle school cross country course. A while later I ran a half-marathon. When friends asked what it was like, I told them I ran 1 mile, 13 times in a row. As a musician, I sometimes play flugelhorn 6-8 hours straight at the Strasburg Railroad. Friends sometimes ask how I can play such a physically demanding instrument for so long. I tell them “one train car at a time.” I’m not saying I’m a Nick Foles Zen master, I’ve got quite a ways to go yet. But Foles is right about big tasks being easier if you stay focused on the piece at hand.
That’s where the whole “living in the moment” thing comes in. It’s tough though. Ever try counting breaths while meditating, get distracted, and have to start over? Ever realize that you have no idea what the person you’re talking to has said because your mind drifted elsewhere? Ever play with your kids as your mind raced through all the chores that needed checked off the “to-do” list? Ever spend vacation stressed out because you couldn’t get any work done? Foles Wisdom says to relax and just enjoy the moment for its own sake. Some would call it “being mindful”. It might take practice and discipline to achieve, but it sure would be worth the effort. If we look back on our lives, our richest experiences are probably times when we were totally invested in the moment.
After the Eagles loss to New Orleans, in what may have been his last post game interview as an Eagle, Foles was asked by a reporter about what was next. His team had just lost an emotional playoff contest after an intense month of high stakes games. The offseason tearing down and rebuilding of the roster was imminent. In predictable style, a disappointed but not defeated Foles said he was going to enjoy the flight back to Philly with his teammates, and deal with the future as it developed.
People always say you can learn a lot about life from sports. And in the case of Nick Foles, you really can.