THE PERPETUAL BLUE SHIRT THEORY

When you have a bobble-head replica of yourself in a blue button-down shirt (it was a gift) and you show up to work every day twinning with it, the people who see you most often might poke fun at the fact that you have the most uninteresting wardrobe of anyone in the office. For me, depending on the weather, it’s a light blue, short sleeve, Stafford button down or a dark blue, long sleeve button down. On weekends and days off that’s not my attire of choice, but in the office you know what you’re going to get. 

You’re probably wondering, “Dustin, why the blue shirts? You don’t seem like the type of boring guy who can’t help but make the same wardrobe choice every morning.” It may seem silly to some, but there’s a strategic point to be made by those perpetual blue shirts. There is a principle behind it that could change the way you think about the choices you make every day. 

The first point is an obvious one—having the same professional attire presents a professional impression. No matter what comes my way, I know I can be presentably dressed and do whatever aspect of the job I’m required to do that day. I might walk into the office thinking that’s the only thing I’ve got going on just to get a call that afternoon about a rush order a few blocks from the office. At the drop of a hat I will be ready. Unless I’m heading to a car junkyard after work, a blue button down is a good choice. And even if I did happen to soil one, there are 15 other blue shirts hanging on the rack in my closet that would serve as reasonable replacements. 

The main reason for the choice of similar wardrobe selection has to do with your brainpower and decision making. Someone very successful once told me, “I have too many decisions to worry about every day to have to add one more as little importance of what am I going to wear today?” You have so many decisions to make in a day and there are only so many of those decisions your brain can make well before you get burnt out. Why add to the problem in the morning by having to decide what you’re going to wear? 

Maybe you like the way different outfits spice up your life. But already having that decision made can let you use that brain space for something else. I know it sounds minor. You might be thinking, “is it really that big of a deal?” I would say that yes, it is. Deciding what you’re going to wear doesn’t seem like it will make that big of a difference, but it’s one more decision you have to make. If I can reach up and throw on a blue shirt and reach down and grab a pair of khakis without thinking, I will be able to use that brain space to think about something else. In this way, I can strategically steal time away from something I don’t have to think about anymore. There are problems that need to be solved and solutions that need to be found, and I can start formulating those things in my brain from the very beginning of the day. 

I am self aware enough to realize this seems very ridiculous. But other people have had this identical philosophy. If you have seen Steve Jobs, he always wore the same kind of pants and the same turtleneck. The idea was that he had so much to think about and create that he didn’t want to have to worry about what to wear every day. Your next step to creating value can be the same. For me, it’s an easy thing on a regular basis to simply wear the same wardrobe every day. I don’t have to worry about what to put on and I can focus my mind on more important things.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

 

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