Monday, February 17, 2014

Just Settle For Silver

It is only one week into the XXII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia and I am already almost at my fill.  There are only so many snowboarders, skiers, skaters, curlers, jumpers and emotional interviews that a person can take.  And the way that NBC is covering the XXII games is somewhat formulaically predictable.  They do a big interview backstory on whoever is about to win, and then that person wins.  Notice, they never do a backstory before the event of those who don't win.

There has been a larger life lesson, though, that I have learned this year in watching some of the world's greatest athletes.  The lesson is this.  Sometimes it's just better to;

Settle for Silver,

It's better to settle for Second,than to compete above your level for Gold, and lose out altogether.  This has happened at least twice that I have seen.  The first time, and most pronounced of the instances was in the half-pipe snowboarding competition with snowboarding phenomenon Shaun White.  In the finals, he fell right in the middle of the Rosa Kutor Extreme Park.  Let me repeat that.  Shaun fell!  Shaun never falls.  The snowboarder before him, and eventual Gold medal winner, Iowri Podladtchikov just knew a better trick than Shaun.  It was huge.  No one had ever done that before at the Olympic games.  And so, Shaun followed him and tried tricks that were above his ability level.  In a later interview he said, "I went for big tricks.  I could have played it safe, I guess, and try to get a decent score, but I wanted to win."  And so, instead of getting Silver, Shaun got nothing - fourth.  Sometimes it's just better to;

Settle for Silver

Another memorable example of competitors playing above their ability level and coming up short were Olympic pairs skaters Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy from Germany.  They were expected to be on the platform with the two other Russian competitors.; at least Bronze.  Instead, they tried to throw too big, jump too high, spin too fast, and they too fell, many times.  They came in fourth in one competition.  They should have;

Settled for Silver

Several years ago a book came out in the business world which had profound implications for the philosophy of business.  The book was called, Positioning.  The basic premise of the book is that everyone always tries to capture the top spot in business.  The most classic examples include Pepsi and Coke, both of whom are always competing for the top spot in the the Cola Wars.  Other examples include McDonalds and Burger King, Miller and Bud, Apple and Microsoft.  Billions of dollars are spent every single year to have the top spot, to be king of the hill.  However, the book goes on to show that there is a lot of money to be made in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth (etc) spots.  Too much energy and resources are expended trying to be #1.  Sometimes it is just better to;

Settle for Silver

The disciples were always arguing about who would win Gold.  They fought over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Usually, in the midst of these verbal skirmishes, Jesus is on the sidelines just listening.  Sometimes Jesus would intervene and interupt.  Jesus would sometimes say; (paraphrased) "You don't understand.  The kingdom of heaven does not work that way.  You do not know what you are asking.  There are others greater than you, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Moses, who will sit on those seats.  But there really aren't those seats anyway.  There is no podium platform.  And if there were, I would take Gold.  I would take God, not because of my own glory, but because of my own humility, and sacrifice.  Become like me, and put yourself last.  The last shall become first."

In his own way, Jesus was telling the disciples to;
Settle for Silver

All For Now,

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