There is a sticky note on my desk, attached to my monitor, always present in whatever I am working on.
“If they aren’t playing, then they don’t matter.”
Perhaps some day I will finally get around to writing it down on some nice paper and framing it and putting it somewhere nice. It has been the mainstay of my working, professional philosophy for some time now.
If they aren’t playing, they don’t matter.
I first wrote it down during one of the NFL post season games. I was in a writing slump because certain individuals had decided to breath down my neck. I was taking criticism way too hard and as a result my output was minimal. On the TV screen, the camera pans around to a stadium full of people who were all unhappy for one reason or another. On the field, a collection of men competing against one another. Cut away again to the color commentators. To the analysts. To the fans being interviewed later. Each of them could do something better or had something to say about the game that day.
Thing is, none of these critics were playing. No skin in the game.
The only people they cared about were the others on the field.
If they weren’t playing, they didn’t matter.
Fans love the idea of competition and the feeling of a win, they just won’t go out and get it for themselves.
They aren’t playing, they don’t matter.