Jewish Superhero Carrie Fisher Dies During Hanukkah. Oy vey, what a year. I admit it – one of my first thoughts was can’t 2016 just be over already? My second thought was, “What about the next Star Wars movie.” Lets dispense with the second thought first. They already filmed episode 8, so we’ll see the General again. But seriously, someone died, and I’m worried about a movie? We think all kinds of things. The reason why I know about Carrie Fisher is because of Star Wars. So I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that I have that kind of mental association.
I keep hearing that Cam Newton is polarizing. Really? I’ve tried to dig around and see what all the fuss is over. All I can come up with is some theft in college, and dancing after scoring touchdowns. Yes, people are upset because he dances too much on the field. Maybe that and he is a black quarterback at the top of his game. (Read more here). It is clear to me that Cam Newton’s Humility is his greatest strength.
Cam Newton is certainly on top of his game. Soon he will be named league MVP, and his one loss team is a favorite to win the Superbowl. Here are three Soul Traits that contribute to Newton’s success.
Cam Newton’s Humility Is His Greatest Strength
It may surprise you that I bring up Humility in the context of someone who is criticized for excess celebrations. Isn’t Humility about being Humble and self-effacing? Isn’t Newton a bit cocky? In Mussar, Humility is about finding balance between meekness and arrogance.
In his book Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis offers the following Humility mantra “No more than my place, no less than my space.” What is the proper space for a quarterback to have? This is a leadership position, and Newton’s exuberance is catching, and brings his teammates to higher energy. It takes courage and nerve to let it all hang out the way Newton does. It would be judgmental to call Newton arrogant – he talks about his teammates and not his own greatness. The Torah teaches that Moses was the most humble of men. He accomplished great things, and stood up to authority, but it was never about him. You want a quarterback who can step up, and isn’t afraid to lead. And in that sense, Cam Newton’s Humility is his greatest strength.
Order is essential for a successful quarterback
The great quarterbacks prepare. They study tape of both opposing teams and their own performance. They learn the playbook to become mentally prepared. Newton’s success is a testament to his Order balance. Note that he can’t be too Ordered. Once the foot
ball play ensues, chaos erupts. He needs to be able to adjust and improvise on the fly. Preparation helps, but sometimes you just need to abandon the plan and make the best of what is offered to you.
Enthusiasm governs mindful action
Football is a fast and violent game. In addition to his mental preparation, Cam Newton rigorously prepares his body. He explained “if you have 10 reps to do, do 10 good quality reps. Don’t just do enough to say you did it.” He takes the same approach whether it is the regular season or the offseason. It is easy for any of us to just phone it in when we don’t think anyone is looking. The best in the world, however, focus and give effort every time.
Extreme Spiritual Fitness
One of my students calls Mussar “extreme spiritual fitness” because we exercise only one soul trait at a time. Cam Newton takes a similar approach to his physical fitness, working on one limb at a time. He says this is important because a quarterback has to “take many different roles if asked to.” Isn’t that like life too? We are asked to take on different roles at different times, often with no notice. By strengthening our soul traits individually, we are best positioned to take on our next spiritual challenge.
And remember: Every challenge is a spiritual challenge.
Do you agree that Cam Newton’s Humility is his greatest strength?