“With these hands I’m one of God’s most powerful creatures …”
This is the first half of a quote rolling out founder, Munson Steed, shared with me when I asked what his biggest takeaway was, after interviewing Dr. Myron Rolle upon the release of his memoir, The 2% Way.
Steed’s full quote was:“With these hands I’m one of God’s most powerful creatures … tackling men on a football field I’m not.”
I was intrigued, inspired, and low-key confused. The next day I had the honor of taking my son to meet Dr. Myron Rolle, the only human being ever to become a Rhodes scholar, NFL player and neurosurgeon. We met Rolle at his book signing for “The 2% Way” at the Crown Plaza hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, during his book promo tour.
A philosophy introduced to Rolle by his FSU defensive coach, “The 2% Way” — is a practical strategy to make small improvements daily to achieve big results. Rolle credits “The 2% Way” as the foundation for his world-class success.
My son, Simeon Womack, is an 18-year-old incoming freshman and D1 student-athlete basketball player, majoring in business at Bethune-Cookman University. One of the greatest gifts I can provide him at this stage of life, is a blueprint to universal greatness embodied by Black superheroes.
The five-minute high-powered growth mindset conversation Dr. Myron Rolle graciously had with Simeon, allowed for Simeon to absorb the magnetic presence of an iconic giant and genius. Rolle spoke on the success formula for developing an incremental grind empowered by a limitless mind. The timeless blueprint encapsulating such a proven pathway to greatness, for which I began reading immediately – is Rolle’s book, The 2% Way.
The Lifeline of Scrimmage
At the beginning of the book, Rolle escorts the reader to what I would call the lifeline of scrimmage. Not the line of scrimmage on the football field, where Rolle emerged as a super talented college All-American and NFL player. But the invisible line of surgical demarcation, for a premature born baby with excess fluid in their brain, at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Rolle described the slim margin of error, upon this line he approached to tackle with his gifted hands, as, “an invisible line dividing life and death.”
I thought about Steed’s quote: “With these hands I’m one of God’s most powerful creatures …”
This world can be defined by lines that separate our dreams from reality. To keep it a buck, the parallel lines of such separation are historically racial. These lines of multi-century systemic oppression, deeply rooted in the transatlantic gap between a “free world” and the “doors of no return,” have confiscated and broken the minds, bodies, and spirits of countless Black dreamers … for generations.
Rolle refused to be derailed from his divine path to greatness. In The 2% Way, Rolle brings you through the resilient culture of his family’s homeland in the Bahamas — an island full of revolutionary pride. Throughout Rolle’s youth his father consistently told him, “Be so good they can’t deny you.”
Rolle and his family moved to America in New Jersey, where he encountered what he referred to as, “a dizzying maze of social rules, prejudices…and microaggressions” along with unapologetic racism.
After almost losing his freedom as a juvenile, for laying hands on a white kid for calling him the “N-word” — Rolle learned a valuable lesson every Black male in American must embrace: “Don’t let others dictate your future.” A liberated Black man must always use his mind to control his emotions, not the other way around.
Rolle fell in love with the game of football, while simultaneously becoming infatuated with the book, “Gifted Hands” by neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Rolle committed to achieving 2 monumental life goals:
- Play in the NFL
- Become a neurosurgeon
The Rolle Roller Coaster Ride to Greatness
As Rolle locks in on the pursuit of these aspirations, the reader is compelled to lock in as well and buckle up on Rolle’s roller coaster ride to accelerated greatness. Rolle rose from a relatively unknown cornerback to the No. 1 high school football recruit in the nation. He was also a top scholar.
Rolle continues zipping you through his exhilarating chase to greatness, in college at FSU, where he doubled down on “The 2% Way.” Rolle guides you through the development of his winning science for getting intentionally better every day.
This included an unfathomable number of 110-yard sprints in the Florida heat, along with an above-and-beyond commitment to excelling in each of his classes. By his junior year, Rolle not only became a college football All-American projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick — a prestigious honor for only 32 of the best college football players in the nation, but Rolle also won the Rhodes scholarship — a prestigious academic honor awarded to only 32 U.S. collegiate phenoms.
Despite many expecting Rolle to focus on the NFL dream in isolation, he refused to be myopic. His whole life plan was “predicated on the proposition he could be a Rhodes scholar and an elite NFL player,” without a need to sacrifice either.
The Great Sacrifice
If you’ve ever had a nightmare of being pushed off a cliff, that’s exactly how it felt reading the next part of “The 2% Way.” Rolle’s roller coaster ride to greatness takes a stomach dropping dip. I would consider it one of the most devastating robberies known to the sports world.
After choosing to forgo his last year of eligibility with the FSU football team, taking full advantage of his Rhodes scholarship opportunity at Oxford, the NFL powers that be elected to crucify Rolle —our young Black messiah.
As a reader you must fight during this part of the book, to not slip into your own bout with depression, as you visualize yourself sitting on the couch, glued to the tube with Rolle and his family on NFL draft night. You helplessly experience the pain of Rolle getting passed up in the draft, round after round after round. “They’re punishing you Myron,” said his father. After all but giving up, Rolle was finally drafted as the 207th pick in the 6th round to the Tennessee Titans.
His NFL career was short-lived. Rolle made it to the league and accomplished his dream, but he was forced to carry the cross of never truly seeing his dreams fully materialize. He had potential pro-bowl talent but was black-balled. It appeared the NFL was afraid of a genius multifaceted Black man, whose life trajectory far surpassed a conditioned $40 million dollar-slave mentality on the gridiron.
As a Rhodes scholar with a groundbreaking future much bigger than professional football, why was Rolle such a threat to the NFL?
A friend of Rolle’s suggested, maybe it’s because Rolle had the potential to become so powerful in his brilliance, he would inevitably become a threat to unlocking the NFL’s most fatal and darkest immorality – the undisclosed effects of brain injuries and CTE.
It appeared the NFL conspired to restrain Rolle from playing the game he sacrificed so much blood, sweat, and tears to play. After only 2 years, Rolle was released from his last team in the NFL, never getting the chance to play one snap during a regular season game.
“Taking the Rhodes Oxford scholarship was the best decision I ever made,” Rolle says. At his lowest point it becomes disturbingly obvious to the reader that it was also his greatest sacrifice.
The Divine Breakthrough: “Your Life Is Not Your Own”
In Rolle’s deepest moment of despair, his greatest use of The 2% Way was to have faith, a little bit longer and stronger, to internalize the divine reality that, “God’s got you!” He realized, “We can’t know God’s plan, but we must trust it. God will never lead us where his grace cannot provide for us, or his power cannot protect us.” With a renewed faith and an inspiring perspective shared by his mother, Rolle realized his #1 life goal of playing in the NFL was accomplished — and the No. 2 goal of becoming a neurosurgeon was next.
Rolle went back to FSU to enroll in medical school, graduated and was accepted into 30 neurosurgery programs, and choose to attend his #1 choice – Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I became focused on one thing and one thing only — becoming the best neurosurgeon I could be.”
Via The 2% Way, Rolle is currently developing new transformative initiatives for combining pediatric neurosurgery with global health care for marginalized Black and brown communities. Rolle founded the Caribbean Neurosurgery Foundation — an organization that seeks to utilize political unity among Caribbean nations to empower doctors with patient data and best practices.
In doing so, Rolle has become one of the greatest once-in-a-lifetime superheroes of our generation.
Rolle has ascended beyond a defensive line to save touchdowns on any given Sunday, because Rolle is now called on as a lifeline to saves lives every single day. Rolle has saved lives on the frontlines during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and has saved lives on the frontlines during the aftermath of the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
Rolle is also saving and empowering the lives and dreams of countless young people. This was ever-apparent when Rolle began pouring into my own son Simeon, during the book signing. In one unforgettable moment, Rolle dropped down into a cornerback defensive stance, while suited and booted in his pinstripe and wingtips, and began quickly back-peddling to let Simeon know he still had the NFL caliber skills to pay the bills.
Rolle’s love for the game of football is still apparent. But his undeniable passion for breaking down barriers and limitations on what a Black man can do with his mind, to save lives and uplift marginalized communities across the globe is undeniably greater.
The discipline behind activating such a divine purpose is conveyed throughout every page and empowering story in his life-changing book.
The untold truth about The 2% Way philosophy, is that it takes giving your all, and being willing to sacrifice it all, just to get better by that extra 2%.
Rolle understands his divine calling, which is way bigger than football.
Rolle is a transformative healer, in a world that needs a lot of healing.
Thus, his divine calling requires sacrifice. Because as a generational leader, “Your Life Is Not Your Own.”
A leader’s purpose is to make other people’s lives better. Rolle does this in such a dynamic manner, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him morally positioned, as the leader of the free world, within the near future.
But for now, Rolle has his hands full exploring innovative ways he can surgically heal brains and save lives worldwide.