by Eric Samuelson
In this season of technological wonder, the prophetic lyrics to Paul Simon's terrific 1986 song, “The Boy in the Bubble,” have entered the mainstream culture. Celebrity status has now been democratized. Every partially talented, wannabe playmaker is offered a chance at instant acclaim. One spectacular move, caught on camera, pushed, and retweeted to the excitement-addicted masses guarantees Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame to everyone. Thirty years ago, Simon and Warhol made independent, uncanny forecasts about our current culture. We are now living in the age they predicted.
Playmakers can actually look like principled game changers—for maybe a minute. The significant difference between the two is consistency. Who performs well even when the cameras are off? Who is willing to do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do, regardless of the attention it garners? Who has the integrity to persevere? This is how character is tested and revealed.
Playmakers and game changers look an awful lot alike when they are in a peak-performance moment. Certainly there are some playmakers who can execute frequently enough that they appear to be game changers. They aren't actually displaying consistent peak performance, but have rather lucked into a series of successive opportunities that have allowed their massive skills to be publicly displayed. Such moments can occur whether ...