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Former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith gives TED Talk in Monterey, CA.

Just live.

Alex Smith talks about his leg injury.
Gilberto Tadday / TED

Alex Smith stood poised, calm, and collected. He scanned the TED Talk audience and delivered two key pieces of advice he received during his tenure as the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, don’t worry, and just live.

Alex Smith explained that Jim Harbaugh would tell the team before they would take the field on game day, “Play as hard as you can, as fast as you can, for as long as you can. And don’t worry.” Smith went on to say, “It sounds simple, and it is, but I guess I didn’t really believe it was possible until it came from somebody that I trusted.”

However, the phrase that stuck with Alex throughout the rest of his career came from former teammate linebacker Blake Costanzo.

“Blake was a linebacker who was a little nuts. Before games, he would run around the locker room, and he would get in everybody’s face, and he’d ask, ‘are you gonna live today? I’m gonna live today, are you?!’ he was fully present, right in the moment, right in my face. Just live. These ideas were a counter-weight to all my doubts, and wouldn’t you know it? I started playing better, started having fun again, and we started winning.”

Blake Costanzo’s phrase stuck with Alex, as he went on to say that it was something he would reiterate to a small group of teammates before games, ‘just live.’

“And even as I got traded twice and replaced by a couple great young quarterbacks. I stuck with that ethic.”

His journey from the injury, as we all know, has been nothing short of miraculous. From his extremely supportive wife, Elizabeth, having his back throughout the journey and trying her best to keep him upbeat to finding a solemn in recovery with Wounded Warrior veterans. Not only is Alex Smith now doing TED Talks to help others obtain the strength to overcome the most adverse of obstacles, but Alex has also joined ESPN as an NFL analyst for the 2021 season.

I highly suggest if you have fifteen minutes of your day, to check the TED Talk after the jump below:

Alex Smith TED Talk: Monterey, CA