Stop Phoning It In

I have another sports analogy for you.

Yes that’s two in one week, but bear with me – this does bring up a different point though.

Currently at church my responsibility is to help oversee the 16 and 17-year-old boys – which is an absolute blast and one of my favorite things to do.

In addition to our regularly Sunday meetings and our weekly get-togethers, we’re currently in basketball season.

So each Saturday our boys will play against other boys from different wards (congregations) in the area.

We had a game this morning and it was very interesting to watch what happened.

There were two boys on the other team who were intimidating. One was obviously athletic and a very good player – the other wasn’t as coordinated but he was big and had a big personality, making him someone my boys were cautious around.

From the very get go they weren’t playing to win – they were simply trying to not lose too egregiously. They’d already decided they were the inferior team and you could see it in how they played.

They were lazy about rebounds, didn’t stick on their men very well, and got visibly frustrated when missing shots. It got to the point where one of them even lay down on the court during a time out because he said “he wasn’t feeling well.”

Basically, they were phoning it in.

They were just as good as the other team – legitimately. But they got destroyed because they had decided they didn’t want it enough.

They didn’t play aggressively, they didn’t command the court, and they didn’t have any real tenacity.

The final score was 43 – 21 and no one was surprised.

While watching them I was frustrated because I saw myself in those boys. At 16 I had the same defeatist attitude. If I wasn’t automatically going to excel at something, then I’d only put in a token effort.

It’s an attitude I’ve tried very hard to cure myself of, but can still be a fight sometimes. Thankfully, I’m now aware of what it is and can cut off that negative talk before it starts to take root.

Sadly, at 33 I still see this same attitude in the majority of my peers. They phone it in at work, with their wives, with their kids, and with their friends.

They’ve given up on hobbies that require anything more than passive consumption and take pride in doing the bare minimum.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so insistent on dressing with style all the time and everywhere. The more I can signal to myself and to others that I’m not just another guy phoning it in – but a man who’s actively and intentionally building my life, the better off I am.

It’s easier to weed out those with a defeatist mindset. They see the way I dress and immediately disqualify me as someone they can identify with.

Rather than feeling lonely or dejected by it – it energizes me. It helps me stick to the course and not fall back into a lazy mindset.

It forces me to put up or shut up.

It also helps others who are living intentionally pick me out from a crowd and identify with me.

In a way, it’s a tribal signal – separating the tribe of mediocrity from the tribe of intentionality.

Can you be stylish and be part of the mediocre? Sure, but it’s not very likely.

And I can guarantee that any man who belongs to the tribe of intentionality is eventually going to have to reconcile how he dresses and what signal that sends to him and those around him.

PS. Wherever it is that you are in your journey, if you belong to the tribe of intentionality, I want to help you dial in the style aspect of your life. It will help you in more ways than you can count and help separate you from the mediocrity of the world around you. If you’re interested in seeing if and how I can help you out, schedule a call with me and we can talk it through.