The Wisdom of Shooting Your Shot

As I have previously discussed, summer of 2018 has been my “Summer of Improvement.” I’ve attempted to take little steps to change the direction of my life toward a more positive destination. I’m searching for a path on which I’m content, but still hungry for more. Part of this process has been trying to form new habits, and part of the motivation of that process is the adoption of a mantra I’ve stolen from The Ringer’s Shea Serrano.

“Shoot your shot” is a phrase containing three simple words that have propelled me forward in just about every facet of my life over the past couple of months. It’s a simple enough phrase, and makes for a hilarious study where basketball is concerned, but there’s a deeper way to delve into it to truly make these words resonate in a big way — the way that Serrano intended them to resonate. I’ve used these words in response to job applications, emails to heroes of mine, Linkedin connections to people three degrees separated from me, risky moves during my improv comedy shows, sliding into DMs, or gunning it at a yellow light to beat the red. I have found that at the very least, they inspire me to act. Complacency is the greatest enemy of progress, and I have found myself too often in life being satisfied with the status quo. By challenging myself to shoot my shot, I am forced to commit to action, and therefore forced to overcome fear and doubt.

More philosophical wisdom from Michael: “My philosophy is basically this, and this is something that I live by, and I always have, and I always will: Don’t ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or where you’ve been, ever, for any reason whatsoever.”

If this sounds familiar to you, that’s likely because the phrase is a natural progression from the now famous Michael Scott quote of Wayne Gretsky’s less famous quote “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” However, the power of this evolution of that quote comes from its structure. “Shoot your shot” is a command — a call to action. Businesses focus on calls to action in advertising because of the strong response they evoke in people. So too can these calls to action evoke a strong response when you use them on yourself. By calling yourself to action, you overcome the passive nature that many of us combat where dreaming is concerned. The world is going to try to bring you down enough on its own — don’t help it!

Perhaps most importantly, the beauty of “shoot your shot” is that it accounts for success and failure, while motivating further attempts at success. Steph Curry is the greatest shooter in basketball history and his career shooting percentage is *only* 47%. That means that 53% of his shots result in failure (it is probably unreasonable to expect the shooting percentage of Steph). The point of using “shoot your shot” as motivation is not a guarantee that it’s going in the basket every time. The strength of shooting your shot comes in the follow through. When you miss, you can grab the rebound and shoot again, and again, and again, because in life it doesn’t matter if you’re Steph or Swaggy P.

I hope this Monday motivation finds you well. Shoot your shot, friends, and live your dream.

stream of class consciousness