Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Looking Better versus Getting Better

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The last 6 weeks of summer was filled with obligations. My favorite was Monday and Thursday nights and watching my two oldest boys play basketball.

I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work they put in and the risk they chose to take.

But showing up two nights a week, I noticed something about all of these kids, including mine. As a spectator I was able to see something different than any of the kids could see in themselves as participants.

Every kid in this league knows how to dress.

I doubt most 5th and 6th grade boys pay much attention to fashion, except when it comes to basketball. They all wear the right shoes. They all wear the right accessories. They all walk with the right swagger. And by right, I don’t mean the option that works the best. By right, I mean the fashionable option.

The shoes and clothes and accessories that get you noticed. The kind that turn heads. The kind that declares how serious you are about the game. The types of outfits the pros wear.

photo by

photo by jDevaun

The kids, including mine, have on some serious shoes. There are Lebron James shoes and Kobe Bryant shoes and Dwight Howard shoes. I completely get it. I didn’t want to be seen without a pair of Jordan’s on when I was a kid.

In addition many of the kids have on accessories. Not just head band or arm bands, but also leggings with built-in-padding. The kind mind famous by players like Dwayne Wade. The kind that I have never truly understand the purpose of.

(As a word of caution, from one parent to another, if your kid asks for the leggings, don’t ask them why they want to wear tights.)

All of the kids look good, and they know it. When they look in the mirror, or when they look at each other, they are able to see it.

But of course, they are only kids, which means that they have a long ways to go as far as basketball players. All of them need to work on their skills, especially basic fundamentals.

All of them need to improve. They need to learn to dribble with their left hand. They need to work on lay ups. They need to work on their hustle. All of them.

They are all in the early stages of becoming, but I’m not sure how well they see that.

All of us do this. We have a dream. We have a hope for a story that is better. But when it comes to living it, we struggle. We know what looks good. We get the fashion. We buy the accessories. We speak the lingo.

But we don’t like doing the work.

We would rather get noticed than we would put in the time and effort it takes to get good enough to be noticed.

Instead we choose to remake ourselves. We buy the right clothes. We buy the right equipment. We learn the right language. All because it is easier to put on a costume than it is to actually become.

We create a false self.

The funny thing is that few people notice what the kids look like. They spend more time looking at themselves than others spend looking at them. In fact, we are all so busy looking at ourselves, we leave little time to notice anybody else.

We forget that becoming isn’t about how you look, but about what you do. And the only way to get good at what you do is to do it a lot.

And then do it a lot, repeatedly.

Are you creating a false self or are you becoming?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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2 Replies

  1. BrambleTree

    Loved this. It did make me think of this epic icon of the 80’s. 😉

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