Ray Lewis is not just a legend. He's not just one of the greatest football players ever to touch the grass or one of the most motivational figures in our modern day sports world. He's not the kind of player who comes around every day.
With the upcoming Super Bowl culminating his massive seventeen-year professional football career, his performance is sure to elicit nostalgia from fans and admirers as they watch Lewis compete for the highest honor in professional football one last time.
His presence on the football field and off has been inspiration to his teammates and beyond. He is conceived as both an icon and a warrior. Because beyond the glamour and hype of the Super Bowl, beyond his own immortalization in the Hall of Fame, Lewis has remained an accessible and applicable figure to our daily lives. His climb to success is a story of motivation.
Ray Lewis didn't have an easy life, and sometimes he didn't make it any better through his own actions, but he took the gifts he was given and he made the absolute most out of them.
Only a handful of people can teach you something that you can apply to your life. These are the greats. Ray Lewis is one of them. He knows the value of time and that the clock of life is always ticking. He realizes that truly working hard is the only way to change station in life.
Success Is Earned—And You Should Never Think Otherwise.
Lewis launched his career at the University of Miami, a school renowned for the rigor of its football program. A confident, young Lewis told a reporter he was on track to become the greatest football player in its history. Seemingly brash comments from a player who had yet to see a snap in the NFL, it would be an immense feat given the wealth of illustrious careers born from that very university. Yet, Lewis did just that.
Now these comments might come across as cocky or arrogant, but what Lewis was expressing was his work ethic. He knew that his persistence and talent would eventually elevate him to a class above the program's other graduates. There weren't any “ifs” in his line of thinking. It was fact. And it was his perseverance that translated these thoughts into action.
“I just came out of the gym from three hours this morning. I got five hours of sleep. That's it. Every day of my life, I'm trying to find a different way to get better.”~Ray Lewis
He knew the power of hard work, and he knew that if he were more driven than everyone else, even if he wasn't the biggest, fastest or most talented, he'd be more successful than everyone. In life there's not a wide open door to success, and the road won't necessarily be easier if you are talented. Achieving success depends on your desire and adaptability. It's about the power of mind and Lewis possessed these qualities in excess.
Ray Lewis earned his iconic status. He worked harder than everyone. He's a man who elucidates our capacity to accomplish greatness. His story is educational. It teaches us that people fail when they aren't prepared. Ray didn't leave the option of failure on the table. He understood that hard work is the most valuable thing in the world.
The pride of knowing that we made the most of our talents doesn't exist unless it's earned. Real success isn't winning the life lottery – or the literal lottery – it's overcoming obstacles. Success is the result of hard work, sacrifice and an ardent belief in oneself, sometimes when no one else will. That is what this man bled for night and day.
Time Stops For No One.
Time is a commodity. Football is one of the most stringent and demanding challenges man encounters. A player's career is generally limited to, and seldom sees past, double digits. Lewis has been in the league for seventeen years and is exiting on top.
“The greatest opportunity in the world is found here today…We already know what yesterday has got for us. It's already gone. Tomorrow, too far away. What about right now!”~Ray Lewis
There are many things in life that we can control – much more than we give ourselves credit for actually – but time is not one of them. The concept of an end is the fear and motivation. Lewis knows the game and its caprice; he knows a leg injury could end his career in a millisecond. Nothing is guaranteed, and time least of all.
The transience of time serves to bolster action; it provides a sense of urgency. It breeds appreciation for what we have and with whom we share lives. In that way, death is a gift. It's a blessing to know that the moments you have are numbered.
Ray Lewis has a unique understanding of time and its limitations. He understands the immediacy of carving out a legacy. And with each year and the close of a career, the concept has a habit of festering.
Leave A Legacy.
Your legacy is how you are remembered. It's your story retold long after you are gone. It's based on the greatness you have achieved and the people you have inspired. It's the driving force behind our lives.
"Life isn't about wins and losses. It's about what you can leave, it's about the legacy you can leave." -Ray Lewis
It's what type of mark you want to leave on this world and the person you want to become. Ray talks about his responsibility to make the world a better place by having an impact – a positive one – on as many people as possible.
He inspires those around him to give it all they have at every moment. It's a motivation that they will never forget. That is what makes Ray so dynamic, not just his being a legend, but his connectivity with the people he inspires.
Love What You Do
It's not a secret that Ray Lewis loves football. If it were up to him he would die on the football field in his game uniform. The man gives it his all every moment he is on the turf. In his 17th season, and at his oldest age, he still manages to be the leading postseason tackler.
The man loves what he does. He drips passion every moment he is suited up. He loved it so much that he made it his purpose in his life to be the best defensive player to ever step foot on the field. Because he loves what he does so much, it doesn't feel like work for him, it's not tedious or boring.
Success Is A Bunch of Small Things Done Great.
Some people will have the massive ideas that make them a lot of money or impact the world in a big way. The best example I like to give is of the trainer in the gym. Walking into a gym, if the first thing you see is a trainer picking up a tremendous amount of weight; it might appear easy to manage.
But when you try it, undoubtedly it will prove extremely difficult. That's because the trainer has worked hard. Rome wasn't built in a day. The trainer has done a bunch of small things perfectly, and with repetition he has learned to accomplish that.
“Greatness is a lot of small things done well, stacked up on each other.”~Ray lewis
The message is not to look for the easy way out, or a way to cut corners. Do things correctly the first time. As the old saying goes, lazy people work twice as hard. Put in that extra efforts, become perfect, make the quality of your work superior to that of everyone else.
The more you focus on the little things and do a great job with them, the more success you will have with the bigger things.
Preston Waters | Elite.