I loved playing football.
I loved playing in the games, that is. But I hated practice.
I wanted to get to wear the jersey on Friday.
I wanted to be able to run out onto the field through the tunnel and make plays in front of my friends and family. As Austin Kleon would say, I wanted the noun without the verb.
I wanted all the BENEFITS of the game without really putting in the work. And it showed.
I was good. Every time I went in the game, I made plays. But the coaches always seemed to overlook me for the starting spot.
What was the difference between myself and the guys in front of me?
They weren’t necessarily faster or stronger. But they were engaged. They were truly enrolled in the process of football.
They treated practice just like game day.
They showed up on time or early.
They stayed late to review.
They ran hard and took it seriously.
So, I started taking notes.
I started giving a damn and giving it my all.
By the end of the year, I was starting on both offense and defense.
The takeaway from this is that it’s often not about your ability — it’s about the amount of effort that you put in.
Everybody has potential. In physics, we call that “potential energy.” It’s also called “energy at rest.”
But resting energy doesn’t count. You have to activate it.
You don’t get the results you’re looking for in life because of how good you could be if you really tried.
You only get the results because of what you’ve done.
You only get points if you play the game.