Lessons from Walter Payton

Have you ever run 9.5 miles? How about 9.5 miles in football pads? Yesterday morning I learned that Walter Payton, arguably one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL, had a total number of rushing yards, which equaled just over 9.5 miles. For anyone who doesn’t know American football this is a stat that many marvel at to this day. Rushing for 9.5 miles in and of itself is quite a remarkable accomplishment. But now lets look at it with this in mind, he only averaged 4.5 yards per carry. This means in his 9.5-mile run he was knocked down every 4.5 yards or 13.5 feet. Consider running even 1 mile and having someone tackle you ever 4.5 yards, would you finish?

After learning of this stat I had 3 thoughts come to my mind. 3 things I think we should all know and understand before trying to become “one of the best” or even successful in our respective fields.

  1. Perseverance: If you want to be successful you will need to persevere even when you cannot see your goal in the visible future. Most people who are able to persevere will attain and surpass their original goal. In some cases it may come earlier than expected and other cases it comes later. But in all cases, you will only reach your goal if you never give up.
  2. Persistence: Along with perseverance you will need to be persistent. This means getting back up every 4.5 yards while on your run. Whether there are people literally tackling you or other obstacles on your path to success, two things are for certain. There will be obstacles and you will only succeed if you get back up.
  3. The third thing we can learn from this stat is that we will need help along the way. There isn’t a stat to show this but it is something I learned while playing high school football. No matter how good you are at what you do, you will need some assistance to become successful. In football there are 11 opponents trying to keep you from achieving your goal, this is where the lineman comes in to assist. In life there are a countless number of people who are trying to stop you from being successful but there are people who are willing to help you. Be open to assistance when it comes and do not be afraid ask for assistance when you need it.
  4. Actually this is 3.5 because it relates to number 3. Be willing to assist others. If you are willing to help others more people will be willing to help you.

These are three of many tips that can lead to success in any area of life. You will only be as successful as you choose to be.

Good luck!


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Stephen Mattson

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