How NFL Pro Jonathan Newsome Optimizes His Mind & Body For Peak Performance

The best way to change our thoughts is to change our actions. As long as we apply ourselves daily to become better than we were yesterday, we won’t have time to think those negative thoughts because the action being applied says otherwise. Your actions and your thoughts coincide, so you can’t change one without changing the other.

I had the pleasure of interviewing NFL Pro Jonathan Newsome. Newsome played college football at Ohio State and Ball State, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and started playing football at 9 years old in the Cleveland Muny Football League. Eventually, I went on to play for a football powerhouse, Glenville High School, under head coach Ted Ginn Sr. I always had dreams of playing at Ohio State and in the NFL, so most of my life was dedicated to manifesting those dreams. I studied the game, worked hard, and stayed focused on those goals until I reached one, no matter how many bumps in the road there were along the way.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.

I was inspired by the guys that came before me from my high school. Like I said we were a powerhouse during my years at Glenville. One year we sent 21 athletes to Division 1 programs. We also had a consistent pipeline to Ohio State. Some noteworthy names that came before me would be Ted Ginn Jr, Pierre Woods, Troy Smith, and Donte Whitner.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I think I have to give the most credit to my mother because I’m a mama’s boy. It would be hard not to give her most of the credit. However, on a deeper level I would say I was encouraged by a village. I think I’m a product of many different influences including my teammates, coaches, teachers, principals, classmates, step father, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, and even my opposition. Everybody I’ve encountered and everything I’ve experienced played a factor in who I am today.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I think my most interesting mistake would be letting the game use me and not using the game. I had tunnel vision as far as football was concerned. There was no stopping me from reaching my goals. I literally would die for the game. However, I think had I opened up my mind to different ideas at any point in my career it would have been beneficial. Whether it was in high school when I stopped playing all other sports to focus on football and my job, or in college when I didn’t take my classes seriously and just barely got by in regards to my own personal standards. I just think had I known what I know today about what’s really important, had I been this mature, I would have made better long term decisions and not have been so focused on the short term. I have no regrets, I’ve lived a great life that’s been blessed and highly favored, I just wish I would have been wiser back when I was younger.

What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?

I would say to believe in yourself. We were put here on this Earth to create. We all have the power to create whatever life we want to live. The first step is to believe you can do it, and the next is putting constant dedication and action behind that belief. Trust in that formula and never worry about what you can’t control. What is meant for you will be there for you because that’s what you worked for. You decide what’s for you based on your experiences and how you react. What you see is subject to change so the best thing you can do is enjoy the ride while still living with a purpose. Make your life count!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I have my own brand called Never Ever Worry that’s initials, N.E.W., reflect my last name. I think it’s a good reminder of what I’ve said previously as far as controlling what you can, living with a purpose, and making your life count. This is a lifestyle that I promote through social media. I have a line of apparel as well, including hoodies, Sweatshirts, t-shirts, hats and phone cases. I’m working with a company that produces this apparel for me for now, but I’m working on an even more exclusive fashion line of products so everybody isn’t wearing the same thing. It’s exciting because I never thought I would sell clothes, but I have my own sense of style which is simple and clean but still extremely fly. I want to put that energy out in the world everyday to make people feel confident in who they are. Hopefully this will inspire them to just live their life, controlling what they can while not worried about what they can’t. I also have invested heavily into my wife’s business, Herbalana LLC. She is a certified herbalist with her own online inventory of natural herbs and teas. We started our healthy living journey a few years ago, studying different diets and philosophies from leaders in the space including Dr. Sebi and many of his advocates. We developed a passion for a healthy lifestyle spiritually and physically. Along the way, we found that what we eat and how we spend our time is vital to our overall health, happiness, and quality of life. We want to inspire others to do the same by supplying them with natural herbs for healing and daily consumption. You can find the link to our websites through our social media accounts. Instagram : @jnew_11 @herbalana_ / Twitter : @jnew_11 @herbalanallc.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

Three strategies I use are meditation, exercise, and finding time to engage in activities that have nothing to do with the high stake situation.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?

There isn’t a special technique that I use in particular, however, I use the typical find a quiet place, sit upright, close your eyes, and just breathe techniques. I try to find a rhythm and use that to balance myself in the universe, basically slowing down time. Naps can be just as good.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

Working out every day is how I challenge my discipline. I do at least 300 push-ups and ab exercises a day. If I don’t get that done, then I essentially lost the battle for that day. I like to get up and get it done in the morning. It usually carries over into the things I have to do for the day so I’m done working hard, and can now play hard. When I’m done with those things I can chill and do whatever because there are no distractions and I handled my business early.

How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?

Again, 300 pushups and ab exercises a day. As of late, I’ve also been going on long bike rides and really challenging myself cardio-wise. Never skip leg day and always hit some body squats in different variations. I’m a firm believer in calisthenics. If you can’t master your own body weight you don’t stand a chance. Herchel Walker was one of the greatest athletes to walk this earth and all he ever did was Calisthenics.

These ideas are excellent, but for most of us in order for them to become integrated into our lives and really put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?

It has absolutely been true. You have to be aware of your habits because that’s essentially what you are. That’s your life. What you do every day is habit. It’s so much easier to develop bad habits than it is to be consistent and create good ones. Your environment plays a huge factor in your own personal habits. Who are you around, what’s your household like, and how are you spending your time are questions you need to be asking yourself daily. If it’s not adding up, you have to be mentally strong enough to put that situation in check. We all have goals. In order to reach those goals we have to first believe that we can, then we have to put action behind it. That action is our daily habits, and if your habits aren’t helping you reach your goals it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

The best thing I did for myself was change my environment. I got away, made time to think for myself, and really evaluated my situation. Too often we’re just moving around and doing stuff with no purpose at all. Those are the times for self healing. Instead of spending your idle time trying to find out what everybody else is doing, you need to be doing something for yourself. There is always room to improve, there is no victory lap in life, and all forces are always working together. You have to be the one to keep the balance in your life. Understanding that will help you choose your next move wisely, somewhat like playing chess. Remember when I said I wish I thought more in the long term? Too often we get caught up in this one life to live syndrome and make terrible short term decisions when we have so much more life to live. In order to be consistent and change habits you have to isolate from the environment that helped you develop those bad habits in the first place.

As a high performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mind state of Flow more often in our lives?

It’s just like momentum in a game where one team is clicking on all cylinders and can do no wrong. Almost like a dynasty where they simply do what they do and win more often than not because they stay true to who they are. The Patriots are a great example of this. Once you know yourself and realize the power and light you possess within yourself, you won’t have a choice but to let it shine. At that point the show doesn’t just stop, life is a marathon. Continue the momentum. There is no victory lap and no celebration. Keep your foot on they necks. That’s how you create flow.

Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

I think yoga is good. I enjoy the mind and body connection yoga encourages, but again, meditation doesn’t have to be any specific practice. You can create your own breathing technique. Do what works for you. Try new things to see if you like them. Don’t settle for hearsay.

Many of us are limited by our self talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?

The best way to change our thoughts is to change our actions. As long as we apply ourselves daily to become better than we were yesterday, we won’t have time to think those negative thoughts because the action being applied says otherwise. Your actions and your thoughts coincide, so you can’t change one without changing the other.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I bring goodness to this world by sharing my experiences and my wisdom. I’ve been blessed to experience some life lessons both good and bad, and I’m blessed to still be here, so my purpose could only be to spread love and wisdom. Those are the most important assets I’ve accumulated over my life.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Never Ever a Worry. As I explained before, I think it’s a good reminder that we were put here to create the life we want to live. First, believe you can do it. Next, put action behind that belief. Finally, Never Ever Worry about what you can’t control. What you see is subject to change. Enjoy the ride, live with a purpose, make your life count, and Never Ever Worry!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Honestly I don’t know a name at this time, but I’d be happy to sit down with anybody that can help me elevate. I’m just looking to be the best version of myself and live my life to the fullest so if you’re reading this and you feel the spiritual connection, I’m more than willing to physically connect.

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