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.
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
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
"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
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...
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
- 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
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
Then they came out, I'm like, oh
they're done. No, not done
- You okay?
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?
- 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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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?
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
- 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
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
- But it hadn't been easy
- 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
- 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?
- 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
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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?
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
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
- 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
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
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"