Do What You Do

post date: November 28, 2008


During a few free moments on Thanksgiving Day, I read most of Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. If you like football, you will certainly enjoy this book. And since Christmas is not far away, you might want to buy this for the sports fan in your family.

There is much to commend about Tony Dungy’s approach to life. One phrase repeatedly pops up in the book, so much so that you eventually realize that here is a key to winning in any field of endeavor.

Do what you do.

Pro football fans will recall that for a number of years, the Colts would field great teams that could beat almost anyone except the New England Patriots. No matter how hard they tried, the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots seemed to get the best of them. Tony Dungy points out that many people say you need to “take your game to the next level” in the playoffs, whatever that means. But he argues that the Patriots were great because they mastered the fundamentals of football. They had a few things they were good at, and they worked at them until they were better than anyone else. 

Dungy mentions a playoff game between San Diego and New England where the Chargers got away from their usual style and ended up losing the game.

Do what you do.

Find out what you can do, learn to do well, keep working at it, and don’t take it for granted. In other contexts this is sometimes called the hedgehog principle. People who try to be great at everything end up being great at nothing. 

Do what you do.

Don’t think you have to change who you are in order to impress people. That usually backfires because people can spot a phony a mile away. This isn’t the easy way or the quick way to the top. It demands honesty, a strong moral center, and something that shines through Tony Dungy’s story, a quality that comes out as tenacious, winsome courage. That means finding out what you can do, learning how to do it well, working at it, facing adversity, hanging on to your faith in some really tough times, and continuing to believe in things you were taught a long time ago.

Do what you do.

It’s more than a motto. It’s the right way to live.

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Ray Pritchard
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