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By CORY COTTON
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2011 Cory Cotton
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHOW IT ALL BEGAN
I got home from class about 2:00 p.m., and the guys were in the backyard playing basketball, or so I thought. I laughed as I heard Tyler shouting victoriously, "Boom!" I walked through the empty house, out the sliding door, and into the backyard. As it turned out, I wasn't the only one laughing. Sean, too, was almost in tears as Tyler strutted up to and around me, passionately reliving what I'd missed only moments before.
See, Ty does this ridiculous thing where he makes one-sided bets like, "If I throw this pocket knife into that tree all the way across our yard, you owe me twenty bucks." It's an obviously-there's-no-way-I-can-do-this kind of bet because if he misses, he doesn't owe the other person a dime. I realize I could have done a million different things with that twenty-dollar bill, but it ended up in Ty's wallet instead. Why we let him do this I don't know, except that the stuff he says always sounds so ridiculous. All that to say, this was another one of those sucker moments, and Garrett, like we all have, fell into Tyler's clever trap.
Slapping the basketball repeatedly as he spoke, Ty built up anticipation. "Jimmy John's sandwich. Twenty-yard hook shot. Opposite side of the yard." Garrett couldn't resist. "Deal."
Ty swished it, earned a free lunch, and shared a resounding "boom!" with the once peaceful neighborhood. That was the hilarious celebration I'd walked in on. As we laughed in the backyard that sunny afternoon, we had no idea that the next couple of hours would change our lives forever.
But before we go there, I want you to think about something. For us—for Dude Perfect—our journey began in the fun of this one moment. When Tyler made that shot, an abnormal level of excitement welled up in us, and we noticed it. I'm not talking about some magical moment; I'm talking about a simple "ha ha, that was awesome—like, really awesome" moment. Others might have smiled and moved on; it might not have struck them the same way. But to us, because of our love for basketball and competition, we thought it was really exciting. And as you'll soon see, the rest of our story—backyard, front page, red carpet, and all—has been a continuation of that initial excitement.
Now, having explained that, I want to ask you two simple but potentially life-changing questions:
First, have you paid enough attention to the things that excite you? Have you taken notice of the moments that are awesome—like, really awesome?
And second, what are those things? What is it that thrills you? What is it that's almost unnaturally exciting to you?
The reason these questions are so important is that your unique answers are exactly that: unique. Because of who you—and you alone—are, you're wired to be extra passionate about certain things.
Take a moment and think about what this might look like in your life. Maybe people give you a hard time about something you care a lot about, something that isn't nearly as fascinating to them as it is to you. Maybe it's something you used to be passionate about, but because of other responsibilities, you've had to shelve that dream for a little while. Maybe it's something you've never even told anyone else about; it's a closet dream, something you assume others wouldn't understand, something you've kept hidden for a long time.
I've probably never met you, but let me tell you what I already know about you. I know you have an answer to those questions. And I know that, whatever your answer, you've thought a lot about that thing before. What I don't know is what you've done about it.
At some point or another, chances are you've wanted to take your unique passion to the next level. Maybe you've done that; maybe you haven't. But in order to measure that, we have to decide what exactly "the next level" is. In the end, that definition is up to you, but let me show you how it played out for us. After I finish this story, we'll offer you our suggestion, and I think you'll like the sound of it.
* * *
Before I pulled into the driveway, Garrett, Tyler, and Sean had been shooting around in our grass backyard, breaking in the goal we'd purchased only a few days earlier. Turns out, without a place to dribble, all you can really do with a basketball goal is shoot on it.
As I laughed about the sandwich-winning story, Ty decided to prove it by shooting again from an even farther distance. Wanting to save the moment, Sean grabbed a camera. That, Sean, was a clutch idea. Changing it to video mode, Sean pressed the record button, and a couple of shots later, swish. Ty screamed, "Yes!" and threw down his hat in celebration. When we saw the shot on camera, it was obvious what we had to do next.
Camera rolling and competitive juices flowing, we tried to outdo each other. Standing on a rail. Backwards in a chair. Off the chimney. Over the fence. We'd shoot and show, shoot and show. It was a blast: some of the most competitive guys you could meet, a camera, and a basketball.
The defining moment came when Ty stepped up to a tree about thirty yards from the basket. A backwards over-the-header from that distance was ridiculous, and though Sean pointed the camera at him, I knew Ty was wasting our time. He'd already named a few of his shots for the camera, but this one was tougher to define. He simply said, "This shot doesn't even have a name." He let it fly, and with the ball in the air, he said, "Hoo-ha" ... swish. Facing the opposite direction, Ty couldn't see it go in, but our reactions gave it away.
We all rushed toward Sean, dying to see the replay. We were impressed before we watched it again, but seeing it on camera turned out to be the drive for everything that followed. In real life, that shot had looked sweet; on camera, it looked fake. And that was a very good thing. Because Ty couldn't see it swish, his blank stare into the lens seemed to say, "No big deal." It looked hilarious. We didn't think anyone would believe it, but we wanted to know for sure. That was when we decided to make a video.
We kept making shots, but it was getting dark. So we soaked up all the time we could, called it a night, and went inside to check out the day's footage. We liked the shots we'd made, but we knew we didn't have enough to make a full video. We thought about other shots we could do the next day, and we smiled when Tyler said what all of us were thinking: "I want to go bigger." We wanted to shoot farther, more difficult shots. For round two, we wanted to go big.
Our classes ended at different times the next day, but we all came home as fast as we could. No one wanted to miss out on our new hobby. And, more important, no one wanted to be outdone. With camera charged, we went to the backyard and started recording. After a few mediocre land shots, our attention turned toward the roof of the house. We had bounced a few off of the roof, but we hadn't shot any from it yet. Unsurprisingly, Tyler was the first to scout it out, and with the camera's record light on, he invented what would turn out to be his favorite type of shot. Looking back over his shoulder, Tyler declared, "This is the laser shot." Like the former high school quarterback he is, Tyler took the ball in one hand and unleashed a rocket, sending a frozen rope through the net on his very first try.
As the day progressed and our creativity grew, we knew we'd have to move the goal off-site to go even bigger. We headed to a nearby park and unloaded. To say the least, we caused some comical confusion as we rolled our goal past the people playing on the park's outdoor basketball court. Excuse us, fellas; we brought our own. After making some sweet shots there, we only needed one more shot to finish our video—a really far one. Distance-wise, we hadn't pulled off anything too impressive yet, so we set our sights on something big.
On our way home, we passed a friend's house, one with a front yard large enough to distance the house at least forty yards from the street. We'd found our big finish: forty yards from our friend's roof into the goal in the back of the truck. We rolled the camera for about ten minutes. It was windy that day, but with a little patience, Tyler nailed it. Somewhere in between excited and exhausted, we called it a wrap.
That night, as we crowded around the kitchen table and two days' worth of footage, a certain clip caught our attention. On day two, Sean and Tyler had filmed an introduction to begin our trick shot video. They'd set up two chairs in the backyard, and since they were the only ones there at the moment, Sean had set the camera on the rail of our deck. He pressed the record button, looked at the screen, and the view was exactly what he wanted. Pleased, he said, "Dude, perfect." We instantly loved it. Our name, our brand, and the phrase in all our videos was born.
We didn't set out to create a company, and we had absolutely no idea about the adventure ahead of us. What we did know was that we were doing something that excited us, something that stemmed from our love for competition. We knew we were having fun.
Now I promised you our suggestion to the "next level" question I asked earlier, and here it is. If you're not consistently getting excited about what you're doing, maybe you shouldn't be doing it. We're just college students, but already we've seen too many unenthusiastic answers to the question "What do you do for a living?" So here's a thought: if you don't have to fight back the urge to smile when you answer that question, you may need to reevaluate what you do.
Before you roll your eyes, let me explain. First of all, I realize that passion isn't everything, and not every passion is created equal. There are some passions that might be better if they remained hobbies. But while passion isn't everything, it is crucial. Passion is a good indicator of where your best efforts will be spent. We'll talk about this over the course of the next two chapters, but it's worth considering now: are you more likely to go big, to do the hard work necessary to achieve excellence, for something that excites you or for something that bores you? Getting excited puts you in a better position to take your shot and make it count. Passion may not be everything, but it's definitely worth your careful attention.
I also realize that not everyone is in a position to drop everything immediately and follow where their excitement leads. It's a lot easier for college guys with limited responsibilities to make trick basketball videos and travel promoting them. For someone working two jobs just to make ends meet, it's much harder to start chasing a dream. But thinking about what gets you excited is worth doing, whatever your next step is. When you know what it is that gets you excited, you'll be in a better position, now or in the future, to capitalize on the opportunities that come your way—or to create your own opportunities. Discovering your passion is always the first step, whether you take what you're excited about to the next level immediately or somewhere down the line.
And getting excited isn't about the money. Why? Because this book isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. Do we legitimately believe that you can make money doing something you instinctively love? Yes. Have we? Yes. But for anyone who does something they love for a living, the smiling answer to the what do you do question almost never comes from the money; it comes from the job itself. We believe that everyone has something significant to offer, and doing something you love may be your best opportunity to offer it. So that is our suggestion. In the connected world we live in, we've been able to go big with a passion of ours. In the same way, we want to help you make your shot count and go big with what you love. Now if that feels unrealistic, you need to keep reading. And fast.
Excerpted from GO BIG by CORY COTTON Copyright © 2011 by Cory Cotton. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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