Players who can make other players run through a brick wall that’s reinforced with steel have existed in the NFL for quite some time. Hell, if Ray Lewis is talking, players will run through that same wall if it’s placed directly in front of a cliff, even if they know it’s there (especially if they know it’s there).
Lewis motivates mostly by yelling, clapping, and challenging the size of your testicles and your ability to be the manliest man who ever manned up to any man. Sure, loud noises work, both in a football locker room and before an NIT game. But there are other ways to drill deep into the soul of a man. Robert Griffin III knows one: psychology.
You see, Griffin has developed several mantras, and one that he evidently uses most prominently. He says “know your why,” which to me sounds like some first-year psychology student hackery that’s also featured in a Malcolm Gladwell book about sandcastles. But for RG3 and his Redskins teammates, it works, and it’s yet another example of Griffin becoming a leader who’s mature far beyond his years.
But what exactly does “know your why” mean? Turns out the concept is simple, and Griffin has embedded what it means to be a teammate and a fully functioning member of a team culture into three words he can repeat. So when he says “know your why,” his teammates think about this…
“If we know our why, why we do the things that we do, if you know the guy’s story next to you who’s lining up on your right side if you’re the center, or the receiver you’re throwing to, it makes you willing to sacrifice for that guy because you know why he’s doing it and he knows why you’re doing it. So, if we can build that, that’s all I can ask for because the wins on the field, they don’t come if you don’t know your why.”
Deep stuff, man. I’m not sure if I’d want to read at least eight psychology textbooks to impress Griffin and then discuss them with him the next day at practice with a slide show presentation, or if I’d be motivated to play football. Either way, I’d be motivated.