Last November, I found myself watching my beloved Georgia Bulldogs come out onto the field to face off against their archrival, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. UGA, for the first time in maybe a decade, found themselves assuming the role of underdog (hats off to GT Head Coach Paul Johnson). Georgia Tech came into the game with their option attack running on what seemed to be 12 cylinders. Georgia, on the other hand, came into the game with a defense that resembled a moped that couldn’t make it up some of the hills in Athens. Yet, on that night, for some reason, my Bulldogs came out of the gates on fire, and scored on their first drive of the game by pounding the rock right down Tech’s throat. After the game, which Georgia eventually won, the buzzword (or statement) was “Georgia set the tone right from the opening kickoff.”
Georgia absolutely set the tone on that night, and I’m sure if you’re not a Georgia fan, you can think of a situation when your favorite team has done the same. While I hear the phrase “setting the tone” all the time in sports, I seldom hear the term mentioned in everyday life. I’m a big believer in trying to set the tone for tasks every single day, and especially when it’s something you don’t particularly want to do.
Let’s say you’re a Health Promotions & Behavior major at UGA, but you find yourself in a Shakespearean Lit. class one semester. You hate Hamlet so much that it’s starting to take a toll on your own health and behavior. So when your professor asks you to write seven pages on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern’s roll in the play, you’re ready to riot. While rioting is sometimes warranted, don’t in this situation. Instead, do the almost unthinkable. Put a smile on, sit down at your computer next to a nice cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite energy-producing beverage is), and get pumped about writing this thing. It sounds crazy and insincere, but your attitude in the first five minutes of doing something that you’re not that fond of can set the tone for the duration of the project. It can make the awful seem much more bearable. Set the tone early, and you’ll have six full pages and a paragraph on the seventh page finished in no time!
From my own personal experiences, setting the tone in everything that you do makes you not only more productive, but happily more productive. On top of that, that positive tone can turn into a wave of positivity that you ride for a while to come. Referring back to my Dawgs example, Georgia rode the tone that they set in the GT game all the way to a convincing bowl game victory against Texas A&M. Go Dawgs!