It’s so common to us that we are almost blind to it at this point. The release of the latest version of something. Whether it’s a car, an app for the phone or a video game; the old version is eventually replaced by the latest version. Sometimes this comes with huge upgrades that revolutionize the way that we think about the product. Other times it messes up something that was working to our liking. The thing is that even if we don’t see the changes, they’re happening all the time.
It’s so much easier to understand with technology especially. The cellphone does not change shape or size when you add a new app or update it. It simply acquires the new programming and moves on. Often bugs need to be fixed but I’m pretty certain that Bill Gates does not lament the fact that Windows 7.1 was not as good as Windows 10.2. There is an understanding that each new version is intended to build upon the past.
In a very similar way, here you are. Version 2018.193 of yourself. You may look at yourself as the same person that you’ve always been but that’s most definitely not true. You’ve learned new things since version 2015.125 (after the decimal is the number of days past in that year). The question becomes whether or not you want to just maintain what is working or truly upgrade. Unlike Windows, you’re not going to be rereleased. Your bug fixes and big upgrades have to all happen at the same time. AND YOU ARE THE LEAD DEVELOPER! Only you can make changes to the system.
So what is the latest version of you going to look like? Is it just like today’s you but with a few more miles worn off the treads? I hope not. I hope that you believe that you are capable of a big jump. A leap from the version that you are today to the version that you’ve always wanted to be. My hope is that you’re making the plans and putting in the code to launch yourself to a whole new level. So that people who haven’t seen you in a while will take notice to the fact that the latest version of you is a huge upgrade!
Most of the time soccer is a noun but today I’m going to use it as a verb. Of course when you are creating a new word, it’s important to define it. Here is my explanation of the term.
The action of “soccering” is not the act of playing soccer. We already know how to say and do that. And NO! It doesn’t mean acting like you’re injured when no one did anything to you. The action of soccering is the real life application of the virtues that are possessed within the game. In soccer, players must make real time decisions about what to do, based on the stimuli that they take in from both teammates and opponents in order to achieve the outcomes of simultaneously reaching a goal while defending their own. The soccer paradigm puts the impetus of decision onto eleven individuals acting as a collective rather than following the pre-scripted orders of an overseer. Although positioning and style of play may be directed, principles and judgment are the main directors of decisions.
America needs to soccer! It needs to take back the very impetus that this country was founded upon. Regular people doing things as a collective that move us all forward and protect us against failing. We need regular citizens who want to be self-determining within the existing system and help to influence that system. At the moment we seem to be overwhelmingly passive and extremely willing to look for someone else to be accountable rather than looking to be responsible ourselves.
We can soccer by trying to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. We can soccer by changing our perspective from a “they” to “we” mentality. We can soccer by doing the right thing even if we know that no one else will notice but us. We can soccer by deciding to take a chance on something that might not work, rather than doing it “the way we’ve always done it.” There are so many ways to soccer but the thing about soccering is that it has to start with you. You can’t tell someone else to soccer. You can only show them how by doing it first and being an example.
Below is a long description of the historical paradigms where this thought came from. If you are inspired to do something right now, then don’t read the bottom, act now, read later.
Why do I believe that America needs to soccer? The historical successes of the United States have in large part been attributed to a football paradigm. Land acquisition and forward progress are the hallmarks of the All-American sport. In the past, both politically and economically, we have pushed forward in the name of progress and it has served us well. Manifest Destiny is the perfect example. Presidents and other decision-makers laid out a playbook for the American people to score a touchdown on the Pacific coast. Americans led the charge across the continent through wars and promised economic success, the way football players might listen to a play called from the sidelines. The Space Race, the Arms Race, the Cold War and Industrial Revolution were all perfectly suited to the football paradigm. So why change?
The reason for change is that the football paradigm is fundamentally flawed in a few different areas. The idea of neverending progress is unrealistic. At some point stock prices level off, profits decline and progress slows and stops. In a paradigm that preaches forward motion as the truest indicator of success, it is not surprising that we have: insider trading, big CEO bonuses for bailed out companies and strategic layoffs to protect profits. Individuals, companies and the government have all pushed toward their given marker of success whether it be money, land, power or prestige. These success markers are not inherently evil or negative but their acquisition without thought to the human equation has created an imbalance in our perspective on success.
There are also the separations in the football paradigm. The coach is the one who calls the plays. The offense scores the points and the defense stops the other team. Although all are members of the same team, it is easy to point the finger at another individual or group when things go wrong. In the Industrial Revolution this system was completely acceptable. Henry Ford brought forth the assembly line. He took men who were making fifty cents per day and paid them five dollars per day because of his efficiency. People were more than willing to be a cog in that machine because it was a better life than what they expected. They were linemen but were happy to be that. Now with modern technology and globalization that deal doesn’t work anymore. That deal is being shipped overseas and no one wants to be a lineman anymore. Everyone thinks they’re a quarterback and expects to be paid like one.
America needs to soccer because you’re part of the problem and part of the solution. You’re on the field. The decisions that you make on a daily basis matter. The President, the senator, the governor, your boss, your wife, your children, your friends, your teachers are part of it all but so are you. So before you point the finger, point the thumb. What can you do today to SOCCER?
Most Chinese restaurants seem to have the same basic decoration. The chairs only seem to vary in the pattern of the vinyl upholstery. The pictures of the food look almost identical up on the menu board. It’s almost as if they are all part of a chain like McDonald’s. Despite the similarities of the furniture, the food is what separates the good from the bad. In the past I know that I’ve gone out of my way to go to the “good” Chinese restaurant. That distinction was never about the decoration or the koi fish swimming in the fake pond with a waterfall. The good restaurant distinguished itself by making better food once it got the furniture in.
In so many areas people are losing sight of the fact that being better is necessary. As a coach and a teacher, the overwhelming sense that I get is that most people only put for the effort to be “good enough”. Good enough to make varsity. Good enough to pass. Good enough to graduate. This would be fine if their desires matched their effort. Unfortunately too many people expect great results from their mediocre effort. They expect adulation for just showing up. Success should be as easy to get as ‘likes’ on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Showing up is the starter kit, performing consistently high level enough for people to notice is the key.
So don’t rely on the starter kit. You already have a bunch of them. Life is the restaurant space. Your limbs and senses are the chairs and tables. Some people are performing even without those advantages that you have. All of the window dressing in the world is not going to move your business forward if you don’t make better food. In your life, that could be any action that you take: studying, interacting with people, selling, playing or anything else. You need to put forth the effort to at least be better than you used to be. Otherwise you’ll end up as another forgotten place in a strip mall.
Before Amazon, there was (at least in my world) the Sears Catalog. It was a huge “magazine” that had just about every product in the Sears store. It was a place that my brothers and I would peruse some time before Christmas to find things we wanted. I remember that I always focused in on the guitars. They weren’t overly expensive at the time and I fancied myself as a future guitarist. Despite my desire, I never told my parents nor did I save up money to purchase one. In hindsight, I really didn’t want the guitar. I liked the idea of the guitar but if I had truly wanted it, I’d have found a way.
That’s the way that life really works. Look down and look around. For the most part, the things that you have are the things that you really want. They are your musts, non-negotiables, have to haves. People often think that they have wants but most of the time they have dreams or fantasies. I have a fantasy of weighing 170 lbs again. Unfortunately I don’t really want it. If I did, I’d be there. My weight is a direct reflection of my true wants: taste, dietary freedom, comfort food and convenience. When I truly start wanting that ideal weight, I’ll take the actions that will get me there. Until then, it’s not true. I don’t want it unless it’s easy.
The things worth having are never easy. Value is usually associated to scarcity or uniqueness. This is a tough thing to remember in a life of convenience. There are so many good things that are easily accessible that we bury ourselves in the good, foregoing the truly valuable because it’s inconvenient. What you wanted is all around you. If you truly want for more, you’ll find a way. In five years will you be surrounded by more mediocre trinkets? Or will you have something better? In the end you’re going to find the ultimate thing that you’re looking for is that best version of you. It won’t come easy and it’s not in a catalog or on Amazon. So get what you want by being who you want to be.
It’s Mr. Baxter from 7th grade science class that started my tendency toward being a spelling/grammar Nazi. Two times receiving a 99.5% based on spelling errors was enough frustration to get me to pay attention. I fully recognize that language is a fluid and live thing. Every day we can influence it for the better or worse. Outside of church, very few people are using “thine” and “thou”. These words have been morphed and replaced with their more recent counterparts. Change is not my concern. It is laziness and apathy.
Widespread education and technological advances have democratized access to knowledge and the overwhelming response of the public has been indifference. There was a time in this country when only a select few could hope to become educated. The huge supply of knowledge seems to have caused an equally huge plummet in demand. While this lowering of expectation has happened in the realm of language, it is just as obvious in personal health, civic responsibility and many other areas of life. As the challenges of life have become easier, we seem to be less inclined to meet them head on. Instead we have found a degree of comfort in social proof. If “everyone else” is holding a low standard, then it makes us feel that we are OK.
What if you were the one to hold the line for yourself? Not to tell the world that it is wrong but to do what is right for yourself and those around you. If you held the line on your health, your marriage, your relations with people or yourself; what kind of a ripple effect could you have on your family, community or even the world? Even if no one else took up your particular cause, how would it feel to be the answer to your own problem? Deciding for yourself, exactly what you would and would not stand for could be liberating. Rather than looking at those around you to find the path of least resistance, you could look inward to find the strength to hack out a new trail. Our world is filled with more possibility and less hardship than every before, so are you going to sit there and bask in the glow of what our forefathers built? Or are you going to do your own work? The choice is yours! And that is probably the biggest kicker of all, we get to choose to step up or not.
So I hope that you find within yourself a desire for better than most. Be a leader by doing first. Utherwhys whee May knot bee aybl two reklame wut weave lust!
I love food! Almost too much. This is at least one of the causes of my battle with weight loss. Cravings for things that taste good at meal time are a daily occurrence. Although I know all of the reasons for a healthy diet, the struggle still exists. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. The other day I started to give some real thought to this dilemma. At that time I realized that most meals are invisible. It’s not that we can’t see them at all but rather that they only exist long enough to serve their purpose. After they are gone, they are generally forgotten.
If you were asked, I’m sure you could probably remember what you had for dinner, lunch and breakfast yesterday. However unless you eat the same thing each day or have a schedule, the memory of your meals probably only goes back a week or less. Even take a special meal like Thanksgiving, you probably remember what you had but don’t remember whether the turkey was dry or how many helpings of mashed potatoes you had. The power of a meal is the power of an instant. Based on our national problem with obesity, it is easy to see that we have a problem with getting past those instances.
Choosing what we want most over what we want right now is the key to overcoming this issue. It does not just relate to food and weight. It is a failure to fully decide what we want before the instant of temptation comes up. Being prepared to react to those temptations with a steadfast denial by saying with your actions, “I already chose differently.” It is not easy! Without a doubt, this is most likely a fight against years or even decades of habit and desire. Depending on the habit, like me, you may be carrying around a large reminder of all of those momentary choices with almost no memory of the “joy” that they brought.
So if the memory is going to fade of these instances and you know they will, can you start to make a better choice? Can you choose to not be overwhelmed by now in the service of later? Whether it’s food, sex, anger, distraction, beer or any other vice that you may have, make your choice before the moment arrives. Then carry that decision into tomorrow. You are not a machine! This will take time and practice but remember that your present desire will eventually fade in your memory. Most meals end up being invisible.