Thumbs Up!

Every morning for the last several years I wake up at 3:30am to workout at our local Planet Fitness. Every morning I see this guy in the gym working out extremely hard but doing everything completely wrong. Every movement is like a terribly orchestrated symphony of rocking, swaying, and flailing about. It reminds me of one of the “gym fails” videos that used to pop up on my Facebook feed. But as awkward as his movements are, I have to give him credit. Every day that I’m in there, he’s in there going just as hard as I am, probably harder. He appears as fit as a fiddle and probably has fewer chronic injuries than I do and he appears quite a bit older than I am. So this brings up the question, “is it better to just get started and fix the problems you go?” Is it better to plan on doing something, procrastinate, make excuses, and wait for just the right moment? Or should we just do it, even if we make mistakes or look foolish in the beginning?

I worked as an assistant wrestling coach at Duke University for several years. While I was there I became good friends with the head coach, Clar Anderson. He was a several time all-American and highly decorated wrestler but he was one of the most humble people you will ever meet. After one of our team meetings that had gone on much longer than expected he made a comment that has stuck with me until this day. He proclaimed in a way that only he could, “after everything was said and done, I realized there was a lot more said than done!” His statement got me to thinking, how often do we sit around and plan or talk about doing something that never actually gets done? We want to volunteer at church but we have to wait for the right time. Or we want to give more but we have to calculate this or that to make sure we don’t give too much. You want to have kids but you have to get your finances right first. I have a crazy idea, why not just do it and see what happens.

Sometimes it is okay to keep firing until you hit the target because everything in life is a moving target. We could potentially spend so much time aiming that the target gets away. A wise man once said you will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, So why not just do it? READY, FIRE, AIM!

In what is probably the first viral Youtube video that I can remember there was a gamer named Leroy Jenkins. In the late 2000s some guys recorded themselves playing a large open world multiplayer computer game. In the video, you could hear a conversation going on amongst the group. It was obvious that they had attempted this particular mission multiple times with no success. This time it appeared they had spent a great deal of time coming up with the perfect plan. One guy who sounded like the unofficial leader of the group asked the statistician of the group what their chances of surviving were. He responded with a disappointingly low number. Just as they were about to enact their carefully thought out plan, you hear a guy yell out, “thumbs up let’s do this! Lerooooooy JEEEEENKINS!” He rushes in and everyone is shocked and confused. His team follows him and completely abandons the plan that Mr. Jenkins has ruined. The group proceeds to get slaughtered.

In this scenario, the odds were stacked against them either way but at least Mr. Jenkins was willing to try and go out in a blaze of glory. In my current line of work, I’ve sat on many committees where we sit and plan and never get anything done. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with planning but I firmly believe sometimes you just have to get started and iron out the wrinkles along the way. If we sit around and wait for the perfect scenario, the perfect time, and the perfect circumstance, then we may end up waiting forever. I’ll leave you with this story about some notorious planners in the New Testament. Christ might actually call them procrastinators or excuse makers.

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57‭-‬62 NIV

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