State of Play (2013): Season 2, Episode 1 - Happiness - full transcript

NFL players seem to have it all; yet when they retire, many experience depression and financial trouble. Through the lens of a new science, this edition of "State of Play" follows NFL legend Brett Favre and two other extraordinary players as they search for happiness after leaving the sport they love.

"The following is a presentation
of HBO Sports"

"That's the great thing about sports"

"You don't play to just play it"

"you play to win"

"When you start telling
me it doesn't matter"

"then retire, get out, cause it matters"

I have betrayed your trust

"Sports has become a religion"

"Look at the sermon that is being
presented to you on the field"

"and you can drink in the madness"

"of going ballistic"

Welcome to State of Play
I'm Peter Berg

The average length of a
pro football player's career

is just a little more than 3 years

And even the best players
who come through the league

who finish their careers
headed for the Hall of Fame

are lucky if they play more than a decade

That means football players retire
from the game extraordinarily young

mostly in their 20s and 30s

And that's when they come face to face

with a new kind of question

A question that will face
not just football players

But doctors, lawyers, teachers

construction workers, veterans, all of us

What's next?

When a life experience that has defined us

suddenly comes to an
end how can we redefine

rebuild and rediscover happiness?

Over the next half hour you're
gonna watch a short documentary

that offers a candid, unfiltered
and scientific look

at what some familiar big name players

have had to deal with
since leaving the league

Then following the film, a panel of experts

from football and beyond
will be here in studio

to discuss what is lost in the transition

and what can be discovered as well

"You're in the tunnel, it's
darker in there and it's quiet"

"You know, some guys
are hooting and hollering"

"pounding each other's chests"

"It's kind of like the
calm before the storm"

"and you run out into this arena"

The hair goes up on your arms, the noise
just, you know, hits you

You really feel like a gladiator

"You really feel unstoppable"

How can you beat that?
You get to do something

"in front of 70 thousand people
and millions on TV"

People care a lot

"Kids look up to you
adults look up to you"

"right, and so in that
vein you are a leader"

You live out the archetype
of a hero, a warrior

The day I retired

that stopped



"Where do you find that?"

And I think one of the things
you do is you understand

you're not going to find it

It's not fun retiring

Even if you're a realist you don't
think it's ever gonna end

you know, it stinks

Most guys, they fall right back

into everyday life that they're
unaccustomed to

It's not a good thing for
people who are heroes

That day will come sooner rather than later

Well, believe me 20 years went by like that

"And when it comes to
try to find your happiness"

can you ever find your happiness
outside the game of football?

It's a sad story, but it's
not the whole story

"We're examining the
challenges and adversities"

that athletes face in transitioning because
it happens at such a young age

"It's simply an analogy"

to every other transitional challenge

that any human being goes through

"There's something that's very
interesting about the fact"

"that careers are very short"

and you have this really
brief glimpse of...

incredible... glory

I am officially retiring from the NFL

Um, Green Bay Packers

and as much as I thought about

what I would say and um...


I promised I wouldn't get emotional

Ah, it's never easy

"Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
is the architect of Flow Theory"

"and what we call, out in the world"

we call being in the zone

This is the reason why I came here is to

uh, is to conduct research with him

but, it's um...

"There are a lot of guys that I would say"

maybe, maybe just to themselves

I just wish I would've gone
back for one or two more years

There's nothing wrong with that, there's
nothing wrong with the way I did it

you know, but...

I, I can honestly say the way I did it

for me, was the right way

"People say what are you
going to do when you retire?"

"and I said I don't know"

I'll figure it out when I retire

I wanted to go find a hole and climb in it

Not much goes on around here

Farming and driving 18 wheelers

When I hear athletes talk about
wanting to go into isolation

and disappear it's because they
know that that identity has died

and it's almost like you don't
want to face society

"based on who you were"

"It's like my shadow, and
you're looking at my shadow"

but I'm standing with here
but I don't know who this person is

Like I go to the same
high school he went to

"There's a statue of him
up on our football field"

"He's a hero in my eyes"


I kind of want to just be normal again

and it's, and it's been a lot better


I don't want to say it's been slow
I don't want to say it's been fast

it's, it's, it's been about normal

I mean, each and every day I think

I'm not surprising people that I'm
meeting at a restaurant here

because initially when I'm retired

I'd be eating and someone would
say what are you doing here?

I'm like, man, I live here

Most people know that now

This is gonna be a first

We're going to your office, boss

Let's go in your, let's go in your office


Boss, you need, you're stingy
on that dang air conditioning

- Yeah
- So we videoing everything?


Miami takes the, uh, the spot

third spot, in which they select

pass rush specialist out of Oregon

Deion Jordan, 3 years ago

had played tight end

and has switched over to defensive end

Uh, great athlete

We'll, we'll see what happens

"As an athlete, your entire identity"

"from the time that you were a child"

"through your adolescence
into becoming an adult"

"is entirely built up on"

the identity of the hero
the identity of the athlete

and it's reinforced by your family

"it's reinforced by community
the city, all the fans"

Every Sunday we watched Brett play football

Then when he was done it was like
you know, what you gonna do now?

Because it was for so long

"But you have to be able to
create space and pull away"

and make a choice

so that your fans aren't
deciding who you are now

because that's who you were

You have to pull away to decide who
am I going to be from here and forth

"and it takes time, especially for someone"

"like a Brett Favre, someone
that is a living legend"

It was never about the money
or fame, or the records

It was never my accomplishments
it was our accomplishments

and the teammates that I played with

and I can name so many

It was never about me, it
was about everybody else

"I think the most unexpected kind of pain"

that any professional athlete and
especially a football player

uh, is likely to feel when
they lose the game

is the lose of connection
to the other players

their organization and then
probably the fan base

"You don't realize how much that's
contributing to your well being"

"Even though social pain almost seems
like a metaphorical kind of pain"

the brain doesn't seem to
treat it as a metaphor at all

It treats it as a basic way
that we respond to the world

"We've done a lot of work
looking at the relationship"

"between social pain and physical pain"

"We bring folks into the scanning facility"

"and we tell them they're
gonna control this little hand"

"at the bottom of the screen here"

"and they believe they're playing a ball
tossing game with 2 other folks"

"who are also in scanners"

And they're just playing
this silly little game

and then after a minute the game changes

"And what's important
about the change here"

"is that the other two players
stop throwing the ball"

"to the hand at the bottom of the screen"

"And that hand at the bottom
of the screen, the real player"

"never gets the ball thrown
to them ever again"

"And so this is a way for us to introduce"

uh, rejection experience to people who are
laying all alone inside an MRI scanner

And so then we're able
to look at their brain

while they're being left out of the game

compared to when they
were included in the game

"And when we do this, we see
two things that are fascinating"

"The first thing is that the brain regions"

"that we know are central to registering
the distress of physical pain"

whether it's a stomachache
or arthritis, or a broken leg

These regions are going
to register that pain

And what we found is that very selectively
those same brain regions

"can become much more active"

when people were left out of the game

compared to when they were
included in the game

And so this suggests that
the brain is responding

in a way that's similar to social pain as
it ordinarily would to physical pain

And the physical elements are real

but I think that the kind of social pain

that they might experience
from being cut off

uh, from these people that have meant so
much to them for so many years

I think that's probably
gonna be one of the hardest

and most unexpected kinds
of distress they feel

"Tiki Barber was the Giants
second round pick"

"and started his Giants career primarily"

"as a special teams player
and a third down back"

After that great start as
a rookie in the NFL

I kind of went into a, a, a, a dive

So, I said, you know what? I'm
gonna figure out what I'm gonna do

If I don't make it as a player

So I started doing media

"His role expanded in 2000"

"and then exploded in 2002"

Coincidentally my football
career kind of took off

right when I found this other path to walk

"Rushing for more than a thousand
yards five straight seasons"

"he finishes his Giants career as the
team's all time leading rusher"

There is no slam dunk
when it comes to success

off the field if you want to go into the
on the medial side of it

or any other side, there have been player

I mean, I think the most recent guy that
everyone said, oh, he's a lock

this guy, he's the most
talented player to come out

since the NFL basically has been invented

- and that was Tiki Barber
- And you were probably

a little disappointed when
star running back Tiki Barber

announced he's be, would
be retiring from football

Well, guess what? The NFL loss was our gain

That was one of the quickest
crash and burn careers

that I think we've seen
and one of the most notable

"Tiki Barber took to the Sunday
night football studio"

"Mike on NBC, and said
Eli Manning's leadership"

"in an offensive meeting last
season was, quote, comical"

I guess I was just happy for Tiki
that he's made a smooth transition

into the media world

I stopped working on the sports side

I, um, was being used increasingly

increasingly less on the NBC News side

I parted ways with NBC

and it was, I was doing nothing

I didn't know where I wanted to be
I didn't know who I was

Um, I didn't know what I wanted to do

As much as I anticipated and expected

and plan, I mean literally
planned, I, I planned out my life

you know, more than anyone could've
could even imagine

Uh, it, it didn't work

"No, Tiki Barber never thought
he'd be back here"

"rebuilding his body"

"But here he is"

"trying to do what no running
back has ever done"

"come back to the NFL after 4 years away"

Pull, pull, pull, pull your head back

Pull your head back
There you go, there you go

So, it's an anchor for you
that you need right now?

Absolutely it is. The game never needs you

cause there's always someone else
to come take your place

But right now, I need the game

"What we can see in the brain is"

"the neuro basis of the pain response"

"when we're being left out"

"We can also see the sort
of pleasure and reward"

"regions of the brain not just when we're
given a piece of chocolate to eat"

"which tastes great
We also see it light up"

"when someone tells us that they like us"

The brain's pleasure center goes crazy

when it gets that kind of response

"And being on a team means you're getting
that in small ways everyday"

So, you know, football players maybe aren't
always saying to each other

I love you man, and that sort of thing

but there's various things, non-verbal cues

and so on that are activating that

sort of positive motivational
system every day

And that's taken away almost like
you know, going off a drug

I didn't know it was depression
but it was a depression

You're out and, and that's
a hard place to be

That was the transition. Mine was delayed

I was living in an apartment
to apartment to apartment

sitting in the dark, going
to my mother's house

hiding in the attic so people
just didn't know where I was

The wealth that I generated as
an athlete has just dissipated

"Time can help, but in that time"

"you gotta find your niche"

By time, I'm just sitting at home

and not trying to find
something else to do

I don't know if that works

"It's not that you're just not
part of a team anymore"

"you've lost a major, major component
of the meaning in your life"

You might feel this pain and this distress

but not really know exactly what it is

not have the words for it

"and that makes it all harder"

"Meaning comes from being a part
of something larger than yourself"

I got a call from a friend of mine

He said, go meet my brother

and you guys will figure out something

Uh, and eventually we
came up with a business plan

for a company that helps
athletes post career

If it wasn't for Chris Snee

and David Deal and Sean O'Hara

you know, Eli Manning, and
and Plaxio Burress

and Amani Toomer blocking down field for me

I never would've had the seasons I had

at the end of my career, where, you know

at 31 I was rushing for 1600 yards

It's the same thing with Thuzio. If I
hadn't found Glenn Malmeister

Jared Jordan and Jared Augustine
and partnered with Mark Gerson

uh, who started a company
as a serial entrepreneur

so he had all that expertise

If I hadn't had that team I would've
been out there doing it myself

and throwing money away into the wind

That, that deck is new? Is new?

It's really about finding the right team

"When you're playing, you
have those incredible bonds"

"community, sense of belonging, friendship"

There's many ways that you
can bond with other people

Yes, you'll never recreate that

very special bond that you would
have with your NFL teammates

"Um, but there's other kinds of bonds"

"that you can create, you know
later on in life"

"There are really 3 pillars
that research supports"

are the most important to happiness
So one is connecting to other

two, personal growth

three, contributing to
society, to your community

"You're playing, you
have those friendships"

"that sense of belonging, community"

Now, when that ends, you can
sort of remake those pillars again

rebuild them again focusing on those
friendships, on family

"giving back to the community
and somehow helping others"

I was rewarded throughout my career

You know, I, I feel like I can

I can give something back

- They're all swinging on the ground
- Tornado's getting Hattiesburg

All right, you're gonna go forward
and pass it into him

Ma'am, I need to go

I need to go


"Hattiesburg, Mississippi is still picking
up the pieces after a tornado"

"ripped through the city
more than a week ago"

"Bret Favre, of course, a long time
resident of the area"

"who's taking an active role
in the rebuilding effort"

"We're please to be joined
by the future hall of famer"

As we say hello to Brett

Brett, that's a powerful image behind you
How are you doing this morning?

Uh, I'm doing, I'm doing okay

doing better, um, yeah

um, a lot of rubble, but we'll clean up

There was a television interview
that I watched and...

you could just see the pain in his face

you know, he, he is truly connected

to Hattiesburg, to the community

You know Brett

who icon here

and I think these people around here take
care of him, protect him

He just has to give back, I mean, that

that's just kind of person he is

He's such a great guy, you know

He just, just one of us

"and yet he's so much more than us"

"but he makes us feel better"

"because we're around him
and because he's with us here"

You know, you find out a lot about people

in times like this, and it does galvanize

um, really the whole community and city

I do studies where we ask people

to do 3 or 5 acts of kindness every week

So, tomorrow do, go out and do
3 acts of kindness, anything

Do something nice for someone else

And that has so many benefits

"You're not sort of ruminating
about how unhappy you are"

"but you're helping someone else. And I
think that's one of the kind of magic"

pills to unhappiness is to
go out and help someone else

"Evolutionary theory suggests
that helping others"

"is biologically wired because
that's how we survive"

"Uh, we wouldn't have
survived lots of adversities"

as human beings without helping each other

"But as you might think"

"even with his head
bouncing off the ground"

"Wayne Cherbet holds onto the football"

"One of the truly popular football heroes"

"in the great metropolitan
New York area, Wayne Chrebet"

I always said, they'd have to carry
me off the field for me to retire

And that happened

How long would I have played? I don't know

What was I gonna play
till I wasn't good enough

Or I got replaced by a young guy

Or, you know, I got released?

You know, maybe, maybe that was
the appropriate way to go out

they way, uh, the way I played

you know, didn't want to, but it happened

"We never went back, they just packed up
his stuff and sent it to him"

That's just easier to have them send it

"to have to go back and take your
stuff out that would've just"

that would've been awful. I don't even
think he opened it for a long time

It was so heartbreaking to
not be part of the team anymore

They diagnosed me with post
concussion syndrome

You'll beat scary stuff
about life expectancy

and you know, athletes 20
percent more likely to get

dementia and all that stuff

"Whatever the doctor was
that we saw in college"

was aware that he had too many

And that it was dangerous

And the doctor said if you get one
more you can't play anymore

And he told the doctor if you
tell anyone that, I will kill you

And so it was never told to anyone
and he just kept playing

- That was like forever
- Yeah

Then they came out, I'm like, oh
they're done. No, not done

- You okay?
- Yeah

You retire and it's, there's nothing

Nobody's planning your day for
you, you don't have an itinerary

you don't have a schedule, no practice

You have to figure it out for yourself

So, I think a lot of people get
depressed because of that

And, you know, on top of that
there could be other issues

You know, people could
have financial problems

you, you know, and there
can be marital problems

and add some brain injury to the mix and...

it could be scary

I probably wasn't the easiest to
deal with at the end of my career

you know, not being myself, you know

My wife hung in there through it all

I mean, she went through

you know, hell

I mean, the divorce rate for...

retired players within 3
years is like 75 percent

You have to hope that you're strong enough
to overcome whatever it is that comes

Mom texted me she wanted to know if um...

What advice would you give
to another player's wife?

I would just say it's gonna get really hard

and just like, just hold on

just wait, just wait, give
it a couple of years

and don't give up on it

"There's data that follows people"

"and ask them once a
year how happy are you"

before and after major life events

"I'll give you some
examples. After divorce"

"it takes an average of about 4, 5 years"

for people to get back to their
previous level of happiness

"For death of a spouse, it's 5, 6 years"

"For mild disability, it's shorter. I think
it's something like 1 or 2 years"

"So it really depends"

So, and no one's done a study of
you know, retired NFL players

"But people are so resilient"

"you know, they have to act"

"so they shouldn't just sort of sit
around and wait to get happier"

One day, just, you know

Gave my self a gut check and said, uh

you know, I gotta do something

and motivated myself to, uh...

to find something

I always had an interest
in stock market and finance

and I met a friend who was in the business

and we spoke and we thought
that we could be a great team

I hadn't been in school
I don't know, in however long

I hadn't studied anything except a playbook

so it took a while, you know

like half a year just to pass
the test that I needed to

Um, but I did. I still don't know how I did

If I took the test right
now, I'd fail miserably

But I guess I peaked on the right day

And it's a really hard test. He had
a sense of accomplishment

when he passed that and...

things really started to, to pick up

and be happier

Are you a superstar?

- Whoa
- Whoa


- Whoa
- Whoa

- Boo
- Getting married

and having three boys
that's my four super goals

"I got hired at Morgan Stanley"

I was there 4 years and just
moved to Barclays in the city

Now, I'm in the middle of
New York City and I, I love it

The good thing about my job is that

you know, I lead a team, I'm part of a team

It's not individual, so
it's nice to go to work

and have a team of 7 people

you know, to feel that
bond again. That's great

"There's research on what's
called post traumatic growth"

After a trauma, you're trying to adapt

you're trying to cope

Um , if there's a graph, it would be

basically you would kind
of go, you're kind of here

and then you go down

okay, and then you slowly go back up

and post traumatic growth is you end up
even higher than you started

"He's, he's, he's home"

I mean, you could sit in a restaurant and
Brett Favre would come over and talk to you

He's, he's not, he's just

he's just people

He, he's a, a coach out at a
a high school, Oak Grove

Not a head coach but he
he's been helping them

When Reggie White retired

And I would say, you miss it Reggie?

And he'd say, you know?
You know what I miss?

I miss the guys

That's all he talked about
He never talked about

one more sack, or...

and, and that was kind of shocking to me

But I feel the same way

And I end up coaching

a year removed

and it's kept me close to the game

I enjoy it. They don't pay me a dime

It gives me that, that unity

different, but it does give me a...

um, a sense of belonging and...

um, that team

I'm much happier than I thought I would be

I'm sure some people probably thought

I'd lead us to state championship last year

But, um...

I actually thought I would

so that was disappointing that I didn't

but at the end of the year

I felt really good about what I've done

The fact that I'd finished a year as a...

a high school football coach
not that far removed from

from playing the...

the biggest stage of them all

and I was okay with it, I didn't feel like

you know, where's all the cameras at?

Or where's all the people at?

It didn't bother me. I mean, I was okay

just being a high school football coach

"Teams are essential and one of
the things that make us different"

from all the other animals
in the animal kingdom

the way we can work
in larger teams together

"It allows us to do something as a group"

"that we would never be
able to do on our own"

"Sports are one of the ways
we connect with each other"

It's kind of been bred into us

to, to pick a team, commit to that team

or pick a sport, commit to that sport

It's hardwired to have a sense of belonging

to be a part of a team, a group

"It makes us feel very, very good"

You can experience flow
you can get into the zone

in all kinds of activities

People say that athletes die twice

They die when their career ends

and then they die when they
you know, they die

"But also I like to say that athletes"

"but anyone were also born twice"

"We're born when we're
born, but we're also born"

when we actually know why we're born

"When we fully realize
the purpose of our life"

We're joined now by NFL hall
of famer Michael Strahan

of my personal favorite football team

and a man who has given me a tremendous
amount of personal happiness

the New York Giants
One of the world's leading experts

in the field of positive psychology

Shawn Achor, and my good friend

and a man that I had the
privilege of working with

helping him to bring his
story to the big screen

former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell

Thank you gentlemen for coming
and agreeing to participate in this

- Thank you for having us
- My grandma

was the most nervous human
being that ever lived

and she was, always had a
cigarette in one hand

and a glass of scotch in the other

and all she ever did
she'd walk into the room

and she would say
oh, my God I was so worried

and she was always
stressed and always worries

And one day, I said to her, grandma

are you ever happy? And she looked
at me and she said, happy?

That's a big word

And my grandma and her
struggles with happiness

were something that I always connected

And I guess Shawn
I wanted to start with you

as kind of our in house expert on happiness

So I guess my first question to you
is what I asked to my grandma

you know, what is, what is happiness?

I think happiness, um, is not just pleasure

I think often times when
people think about happiness

they normally think about
you know, if I open a certain soda

or if I win a race, I'll be happy

And I think, I think if that's our
definition of happiness

then it's very short lived

Um, what I really love for people to do

is to start redefining what happiness
looks like in the first place

Um, going back to ancient Greeks

they defined happiness
as the joy that we feel

growing towards our potential

and I love that definition
because it's not about

It's not about just momentary pleasure

it's about something that you can feel
even in the ups and downs of joy

Something you can experience even
when you're going on tough runs

or even when you're practicing hard
even when you're injured

or even when you're
amidst a child birth, right

You can have joy in the midst
of pleasurable moments

and unpleasurable moments. So happiness
for me is something that's ongoing

So, I feel like I'm working on happiness

but it, it's something that you

- you move towards not...
- So it sound like you're talking about

the journey versus the destination

That we find happiness along the way

rather than in any specific
accomplishment, or moment

I think we have to because
as soon as we hit a success

our brain changes what success
looks like almost immediately

So if happiness is on the
opposite side of success

none of us ever get there, right?
Because it's always off in the future

Uh, what I want, want people to realize

and I think this is part of your stories

is that happiness is about
joy that you experience

when you got deep social connection

happiness is about feeling
like your behavior matters

Happiness is about
seeing life not as a threat

- but as a challenge
- So, Michael and Marcus

I know both of you guys pretty well

you know, you've experienced highs

I'm wondering if you
guys could talk a little bit

about what that high feels like

and what it then feels
like when you retire

or when you can no longer serve

It isn't about the destination it's
about the ride kind of a deal

And when I was chasing that my entire life

it was, there was...

they always tell us not to look
at the end of the tunnel

because it's over just
like that. You never know

I mean, just a split second, it's over

so don't anticipate the ending

I mean, you watch
people die, left and right

people quit, break, whatever it is

and then they guys who are still there

there's a bond that's formed that's
that's absolutely unbreakable

There's just some bond that's built from
going through the process of everything

and I, and I think for, for me

it is not, there's nothing that I can do

that replaces football, nothing I can do
that replaces sacking a quarterback

There's nothing I can do
that replaces walking out

in front of 80 thousand
people who are screaming

and there's just all of that

But I don't miss that

- I miss the guys
- Mhmm

And that's where I think that
the hardest challenge is

to go from a life that is um...

in, in... that's Shawn would
attest that's so structured

- Yeah
- and our lives are so structured as

a football player, and in the military

You're told where to be
what time to be there

and you kind of, everything is set up
you just get there and you do it

I didn't anticipate getting out

or the future, and marriage, and kids that
wasn't on my, even on my radar

It was all about the ride
that adrenaline rush

- that it's a drug that you can't imagine
- Yeah

- Can't explain it
- You know it's like suit, suiting up

and just getting ready to go out and...

I don't know if this is gonna
go down like I think it is

but I'm, I'm all about it, and, and um...

Sure when it's over, when
they take us away from that

that I think that's one of the biggest

pr... I mean that was my deal

I, I tried to figure out
what it was and I...

I never had any problems
with the mental aspect of it

and it took me a little bit to
figure out what was going

and I realized the problem

actually when I went back to my teammates

and then Melanie, my wife was with me

and she goes I don't, I don't even
recognize you. Who, who, who

I mean I was bouncing off the walls

and there's that hole that's...

that's created when they
separate us from our teammates

- Yeah
- and, and it can never be filled

until you get back around. And we, we
we find obviously as we grow older

and I'm married with kids now
and I, I have a new focus

and that, that's, that's my happiness

um, but there's always that part of me that

- Because that's who we are
- Yeah

You can separate us from it, but

that's ingrained in our DN, in our DNA

And no matter how hard you try
no matter what we focus on

everything else, there's that, there's
that, an empty hole

that can only be filled when you're around

And that's, we were talking
earlier, that's why you reach out

and kind of touch the things that
revolve around what we used to do

How hard was that adjustment for you guys

when you first retired?

I'm talking about really, like the
initial days of really realizing

- it was probably right after that...
- I mean, you wake up and you go

you wake up and, and, and it's not like

the thing is it was an off season after
you know, I retired during the off season

but you know, you're still
going through it, going like okay

July your body starts feeling...

- I'm supposed to be doing something
- I'm supposed to be doing something

- That's exactly...
- And when what you're used to

doing isn't there for you to do anymore

you're looking around like

Um, basically probably looking at your wife

going you want to play football? I mean...

I mean it, I think one
of the biggest mistakes

my, my community, the guys in my community

and I think with football
players too sometimes

and athletes over all, is the...

even though they break
us out of that routine

we're in the foot, playing the games
and everything like that

some guys just stop everything

- altogether. I mean, I still
- I agree

wake up in the morning and PT like I did

That shouldn't change. I mean
I need to take care of my body

Just because I'm not in the
teams anymore doesn't mean

it's gonna take care
of itself kind of a deal

I mean they found that
exercise is the equivalent

of taking an antidepressant
for the first 6 months

But for the next 2 years afterwards

you have up to a 30 percent lower relapse

rate going back to be depressed

and probably the reason for that is this
idea that every time you

you exercise, you've been successful

You record a victory in your brain

and it cascades to the next activity

Like I've been successful there
I want to do it somewhere else

I want to do it somewhere else
And we find that people

who exercise in the morning
are better at dealing

with their inbox at 2 in
the middle of the day

That there's this cascade of success
that they experience in their life

But what, what I find so amazing about
what you're both describing

is that this, this high, this
this moment of potential

is in the midst of so much stress

- I kind of like the stress
- That was a drug for me

Yeah, I like the stress

When the pain is fueled
kind of a deal for us

and the more it hurts, the more you push

and I keep referring back
to the whole team environment

not that I can't handle
anything on my own, but

I'm just saying it makes it a lot easier
when you got somebody

there suffering with you. And then
the victory is sweeter when

when it's over as well

And that was the one challenge

that I loved the most was
trying to get as a leader

53 guys on that field on
a Sunday to all believe

that you always got a chance to win

that you know, this practice
we're putting in during the week

it will lead to that, and try to get
everybody on the same page

- Similar, right?
- Sure

and that, I mean, that also, that
has a lot to do with experience

and youth because you know as well as I do

when the young guys get hit hard and they
go down, it's oh, I think we're beat

- Yup
- And then the guys who have been around

and been in that struggle
are like, no, we're down

- We ain't beat
- We're not done

And sure to rally all those
guys around, absolutely

- Absolutely that's...
- But I miss the stress

- Yeah, it's...
- And so once the game stops

and now you're dealing with all
the stressors we're dealing with

you know, age, motivation

purpose, is it a transition?

It's hitting a brick wall
at 100 miles an hour

That's what it's like coming out
of something like that

I mean, we're talking about being
in gunfights and enjoying

I asked everything, everything
I ever wanted that I got

all of my injured, everything I wanted

I wanted to be in the worst situations
right now. And all the guys

in my community that's why
we're in our community together

and they separate us from
everybody else because we're

sure there's probably something
a little twisted about us

but you gotta have guys like us on
the line that's just the way it is

Yeah. And, and I kind
of look at it like the injuries

are like a badge. It's like a badge

- of honor
- Can I see that? I remember you showing

- me that one
- Oh, that one's done like that

Well the old time, the guys who
come ahead of us tell us that

They're like, you're gonna be jacked up

- But don't you look and you go...
- And you're like oh, you don't know

what you're, it's either way, you don't
know what you're talking about

I'm young and let's get it on
Then knees, shoulders, back

- what concussions, whatever it is
- Yeah

and you're like, hey, man
that juice worth a squeeze

- I wouldn't change that
- You guys are both kind of

in my opinion, you know
pretty stellar examples

of two guys who have made
pretty successful transitions

- you...
- But it hadn't been easy

- No...
- I think people look at the end result

now and they go, oh yeah, he's doing this

and you know, made, did movies
and he's on TV

It's not, it wasn't easy for us

- Even...
- How did you do it?

I just persevered, I didn't quit

I didn't quit, and I think that's the key

just don't quit because even when I knew

when I retired that I could
go do a job at Fox

and do a football show

I was still depressed
from not being in a sense

from not being able to play football

And I'd be in the studio and
the games would come on

and I'm sitting there in my chair rocking
and Howie Long says to me

every year that goes by
it gets a little easier

Mmm, sure, absolutely

Football don't last forever
SEAL teams don't last forever

I mean you, the problem is a lot of times
we get so wrapped up

in that that there's no end. I mean
I never thought I'd live to see 40

and, and that was kind of a true statement

I, any time I ever get stressed out
or anything I remember

I'm, I'm still pretty sharp upstairs

I remember that, that fire I had growing up

and what I wanted to do

and that's what keeps me, like
hey I'm doing something else

Let's put that fire forward and keep going

What are you, how does what
they're saying translates to you?

- Yeah
- to, to all of us?

I think it's so difficult when
you have these high moments

you guys are describing, that

if you compare a moment
to that, it's gonna lose, right?

And that's what we find in this research
too, is that, like, just like, you know

somebody owns, you know, if they
put all their money into one stock

if that stock's going
well, they're doing great

They're happy. But as soon
as that stock doesn't do well

suddenly their whole system fragile

and what, what I'd love
to see more people do

is find that...

like diversify their meaning portfolio

if you want to put it that way
Diversify the amount of places

that they find meaning, that they're
finding meaning in their family

they're finding meaning in, you
know, exercise for themselves

or meaning in a team
or meaning in, you know

learning something when you're reading
a book, or you know, watching a show

Like finding ways of, uh

of making it so that you have so much
meaning in your life so that the one

when one area's not working
out, you got these others

that are there in place to help you out

You were talking about how
result oriented we're now

and you know, and we're all dads here

is there a way to start teaching our kids

a different way of thinking about success

so there is more journey oriented?

I think we should, but part
of the reason I was so excited

to talk to you guys is I want
to find out how we do this

because, um, so I spent, I spent
12 years at Harvard

which you know, I'd see these kids that
worked so hard in high school

they felt like, you know, if I got to
Harvard then I'd be happy

Like they worked so hard to achieve

they get there, 80 percent of
them experience depression

10 percent of them contemplate
suicide over the previous year

So what we're finding is that like
having that success doesn't work

so then, oh, it must be once I'm
a banker or a lawyer or doctor

And it keeps getting pushed off
And what we find is

they're never taught how to create
happiness in the first place

but they've been successful

So, on one hand, you want people to push

to be successful in sports, you
want people not be complacent

- You know, I...
- Live to work, work to live

- kind of a deal
- Yeah, I'm wondering how

how we teach cause all
the research that I do

says that there's something
called the happiness advantage

which is when your brain
feels joy in the percent

every success outcome improves

But some people wait
for the sale, or they wait

till they win the game
or they wait until, you know

they've had some sort of experience

and they miss out on what
their brain is capable of

I think you have to learn

to how to accept the part of the journey

Now I, cause this way, when
I played, I played 15 years

And after year...

00:45:10,542 --> 00:45:12,459
I looked back and said, you know, I never

I, I played well, I never really
enjoyed this, truly

- Yeah
- I mean, I was very successful at it

but I can't say in my heart

that I thought that I really
loved it and enjoyed it

And then I just changed my mind set to say

you know what? One day I'll
never put on these pads again

I'll never lace these shoes
my knee could go out today

So I'm gonna practice as hard as I can

I'm gonna go in and smile every day
I'mma enjoy every second of it

Why weren't you there, that way earlier?

- Why...
- Because I was so focused on

on winning and losing

It wasn't about the journey, it
was about at the end of the day

Did I feel like I won? Did
I feel like I put my best

best work that I could put out there?

and that was always my mindset

But I had to learn how
to curtail that mindset

be one of, okay, I'm still
gonna get the job done

- Yeah
- But I'm gonna enjoy

getting the job done, and I'm gonna
remember the experience

of getting the job done
instead of remembering

- only the the one thing did I win or lose
- Do you remember when that shift

- like was it like a light switch?
- When I was miserable thinking that

I was thinking I was done playing
because, not because physically

I couldn't do it, but mentally

I was just tired of doing
something that I felt

even though I was successful
at, I just wasn't enjoying it

because what was the joy in doing something

and knocking your head against the wall
and not winning at the end at all?

Because all I value is winning and losing

I didn't, I wasn't valuing
the relationships

- Yeah
- and the journey of it

You two guys have come through
pretty remarkable careers

and had, had the, experienced the big drop

you know, you've been unplugged
If you guys now see...

29, 30 year old guys just gotten out

who's not doing what you're doing

you, you know, obviously see
someone that's just gotten out

What are your thoughts generally
on making that transition?

I mean, make it through the shock

- Yeah
- That's, hold on

I mean, you'll get, I mean
that part goes away

- and then after that...
- I think it's frustration

because you don't know how
to channel that energy

You know, you don't
know what you're good at

because the only thing you
really felt good at is gone

- So you gotta figure out, yeah
- It defines you, right?

You gotta figure that out

and I think that's what most guys feel

that what else can I do?

But hopefully now, guys
will start to understand

People are smart, people are
talented in more than one way

And you can find happiness

you know, in your personal life
just as much as you can find

in your business life in so many
different ways to be happy

And I found that some strange
way in my own roundabout way

I think one of the things
that you're both describing

is that the joy is what
caused you to be so good

at what you're doing. And if we could get
coaches that are watching this

parents that are watching this to see that

you know, it's not about, like
once you get to some place

and then you're gonna be happier
but if we can instill this idea

that if we could create greater levels
of happiness now in the present

if they can find that joy now

they're gonna be closer to their potential

Will you talk about the fundamental tenants

that you might say to a, whether it's
a 30 year old retiring NFL player

a 30 year old SEAL that just got out

or you know, someone that's
going through a divorce

or the, you know, the death
of a loved one, anything

I think happiness isn't something
that just happens to you

I think it's something we
actually have to work for

otherwise, you're just your
genes and your environment

Happiness is a harder choice for some
people that it is for other people

but what I love about this research

is what we're finding is you
can actually deviate both

from your genes and your environment
to create a different life

And you've experienced that, that
sense of I was unhappy at one point

but now I'm happier
It's not just your genes

We've found simple things
like, just like we train

you know, a soldier to
look for potential threats

within a situation very quickly

we can train the opposite
We can do with 4 year olds

where you have them think of three
things that they're grateful for

that are new that happened
over the past 24 hours

Seems simple, but what their
brain is actually training

it's training to scan their environment

for the things that actually cause
them to feel more grateful

and what we find is we can move
somebody from a low level pessimist

to a low level optimist
within a period of 21 days

6 months later we can get them
to low to moderate level optimist

That their default changes
and we can do that

you know, on a sports team, you can
do that with an 84 year old man, right?

Um, but you can do other things
We know exercise matters

we know two minutes of meditation

juts taking your hands off your
keyboards or your phones

you know, and just watching your
breath go in and out seems simple

raised our accuracy rates by 10 percent

So, how does somebody do that? How do
people that are sitting here watching

How do you do two minutes of meditation?

- How do even begin to do that?
- I make it really simple

I'd say go from multi tasking for a minute

to just trying to do one thing at a time

So for me, it's just watching my breath
go in and out for two minutes

- That's about all I can do
- And it help you better

- Just take a deep breath, you know
- Yeah

- step back...
- Is that something you guys train

- learn, talk when you're in the teams?
- I've been doing that my whole life

martial arts from the very beginning
and everything, yeah

I mean, you, uh, there's
multiple phrases for it

you know, wrap off, you know
step, step off line

kind of a deal and just collect yourselves

collect yourself, and, and I agree 100
percent with what he was saying

I mean, if, if I wasn't
born a natural athlete

I wasn't big, I wasn't
the smartest, the fastest

I mean, I saw something that I wanted and I
was willing to do what it took to get it

And if you're, I mean, you're, you're

If you're born you can pick yourself up

and take a breath, and have a conscious
thought you can do anything you want

I don't care, man, woman
what color you are

what religion, that doesn't mean anything

It's all, nobody has an idea what's in here

You can't stop that fire, or you have to
kill me to stop me kind of a deal

That's the mentality we have
and that's why we

I mean, I just won't accept
I won't accept that

- And...
- So...

But you're right, it's not, I always found
whether or not we're the biggest

strongest, fastest is the
one who, who wanted it

- Yeah
- Who wants it more?

Do you still feel that?

in, obviously in a different way, you're
not allowed to go around sacking people

and, and you can't shoot people anymore

but is that competitive fire still there?

- Is it still...
- If it has to be in a certain way

but for the most part I don't go through
every day looking, going, oh man

I gotta get that guy, or I
gotta be number one at this

But something's getting
you up in the morning

I think what it taught us is how
far we could push ourselves

- Yeah
- before we broke

And most people don't know how, what the
human body is capable of, and the mind

And we keep kids from failing
so much they never learn that

- right? What you guys...
- Oh, my kids don't have that problem

Well, that's good, right?
We need more of it

because we've got these helicopter parents

who, like, you know, make
sure their kids not gonna fail

like they're gonna do their paper
for them just so they don't fail

They'll finish their science fair project
so they never, ever learn what they're

like we get the kids at Harvard
who break that first year

you know, they had all these great grades
and they just shatter the first time

they get a C or a B, or heaven
forbid an F on a, on a test

because they never learn how to overcome

- a challenge
- a challenge in the past

And I think that's, that's one of the
things we could be teaching people

earlier on is that, like, the, the
failure isn't, isn't bad at all

That's what actually teaches
you where those limits are

- you know, and when you overcome
- Oh, yeah. I mean, absolutely

You don't have any idea how good
you can be until you've been beat

- When you pick yourself up from that
- I remember

the thing that I'm proudest of

were when you're on the field

you know the game's over, your team's
getting their butts whipped

the other team just gonna run
the ball down your throat

because they just running the clock out

And the coach is like, come on
Michael, come out of the game

you don't need to get hurt
and I said absolutely not

I helped us get in this hole, I'm
gonna be out here until the end

because if I come off then these guys

they're not gonna respect me

There's no stars, there, none of that

It's the foot, you're a football
player at that moment

- you're not better than your team
- You're part of that community

You're part of, part of that community

And isn't that the, the final thing

- you talked about is community, right?
- Yeah

That exactly what you're talking about

I, it's my favorite subject
and you both talked about it

like, it's the thing you miss most

right, it's that community
bond that you can feel

Um , the question is how you replicate it

and you can't, right? You can't replicate
what you guys have experienced

But what we should do
is we gotta teach kids

we gotta teach ourselves
we gotta teach society

how to create some social
bonds better, right?

But my question is how do you talk about

How do you talk about
something like happiness

at boot camp, or in buds?

- How do you?
- Well, that's not, there's a time

and place for that. I mean, you're
that doesn't belong there

- That's not why you're there
- Yeah, so, where

where does it belong? Where
should they be teaching it?

And not just in this, also where do you
teach happiness in sports?

Like, how do you teach people early
on that it's not about the win

It's about what you
were describing earlier?

Yeah, maybe enjoying the
journey, enjoying every day

enjoying the, I think if, what I realized
when I enjoyed the journey

and I enjoyed, I focused more in practice

Every drill was important
every step I took

where my hands were placed, I took pride

in trying to be what I
the best that I could be

And I think if you can teach happiness
and enjoyment of every step

it leads to that, and at the end of the day

if you have enough guys who believe
in that you will be successful

- you will win, I agree with that
- I think if you defined happiness

right? Happiness becomes the greatest
competitive advantage on a team

It becomes that joy that causes
you to actually hit that potential

But it's gotta not be happiness as just
like a smile on your face or pleasure

Cause I used to think I had to
be angry to play every game

- when I was young, he talked about
- Yeah

my momma and that dude don't even know
he don't know my mom

But I had to get, get it in my
head and try to get angry

- Yeah
- But as I got older

I didn't have to, I could talk to, we had
this discussion on the sideline

I'd be sitting on the bench, we'd have a
discussion, they'll say defense

I say hold on, I'll be right
back, grab my helmet

- Once I put my helmet on, the switch
- Yeah, yeah, yeah

go do what I gotta do
come back, sit down

and pick up the conversation
where we left off

- Time to go to work, I'll be right back
- Yeah, I'll be right back

That to me starts getting into the
realm of becoming a master

and really understanding
and experience like football

or like combat, and you're
no longer the young rookie

that's full of misguided ideas

Sure, we're lucky, we, we not only
made a pretty good career

- we were fortunate afterwards, too
- Yeah

And, but you don't have
to be a, a, Navy SEAL

He wasn't born a professional athlete
I wasn't born a Navy SEAL

If you're watching this and
you think that just, like, oh, I can't

Man, I, retiring, we had
a guy in my buds class 32

I had one of my officers
he's not with us anymore, but

he, he was, I said something to
him about going to medical school

after I got out of the military, and...

I was like I think I might be too old

He goes the minute you think
you're too old to do anything

start digging a hole, you know

You know, God will let you
know when you're too old

because you'll be done kind of a deal

Never too old to do
anything, man, just start it

and finish it, and keep going and if it ain't
meant to be, it's not to be

Stay in the game. Thank you guys

- Michael, pleasure
- Thank you

- Pleasure
- Marcus

Shawn, thank you so much

Thank you so much for being
here, thanks for watching

State of Play from Los
Angeles tonight, goodnight

"This has been a presentation
of HBO Sports"