Identifying Our "Might as Wells"

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“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
I have listened to two impactful books this week.  The first one is “Finish” by John Acuff.  From a reference in his book I learned about “Black Box” by Matthew Syed.
“Finish” is what it says it is, learning to finish what you start.  Whether it’s a weight loss goal or writing a book.  It’s easy to begin, it’s hard to cross the finish line.  I’ve struggled with obtaining my weight loss goal for years.  I realized after listening to his book, I’ve been striving for perfection and not accepting my imperfection.
His studies found most people quit on day two of their attempt to complete a goal.  He called this day, “the day after perfection”.  It’s the day you fall off the wagon of whatever it is you’re trying to attempt.  For me, it could be eating a piece of cake when I’ve made the commitment to give up sugar.  It could be not writing a blog when I’ve made the mental commitment to blog once a week.  (Which is actually a goal I’m trying to accomplish.)  Embracing our imperfections along the path to our goals helps us to ultimately complete our goals.  I would call this, giving ourselves margin for error.
One of the take aways from “Finish” is the phrase “might as well”.  John talked about how when we fall off our proverbial wagon is when we use the phrase “might as well”.  I already ate the cake, might as well eat the pie.  I didn’t write last week, I might as well not write this week.  He’s right.  It is a quick identifier for the day after perfect.  It is a great way to check yourself when you’re about to go astray.
Instead of setting impossible goals, I can still lose one pound a week if I eat a piece of cake.  Just because I missed a week of writing doesn’t mean I have to give up completely.
Pair John’s book with Matthew’s book, Black Box, which is all about learning from your mistakes, God willing I may just have some break throughs!
Black Box, so far is comparing the healthcare industry to the aviation industry.  It turns out, aviation has become one of the safest ways to travel because of the black box.  Every accident in history has been analyzed.  As a result corrective measures have been taken which have allowed for this to occur.
On the other hand, when medical “accidents” happen such as making the wrong diagnosis, reading the wrong chart, operating on the wrong body part or giving the wrong medication, all which can lead to the death of the patient, it doesn’t get analyzed.  It often gets tossed aside as “one of those things” or “it was out of our control.”  Was it really though?
What I realized, as listening to this book, which by the way, I haven’t finished yet, still listening too.  It’s the source of motivation for looking at the mistakes in these two industries which is drastically different.  In aviation, when an airplane crashes the pilot usually dies.  Powerful motivation to understand what went wrong for pilots because they don’t want it happening to them.  In the medical profession however, when there is an “accident” someone else experiences the loss, not the doctor or nurse.  Not quite as motivating for them to analyze what went wrong because it isn’t as personal.  Obviously, I’m not saying doctors and nurses don’t care about the patients they lose, it just isn’t thought of the same way as the black box in airplanes.  It is thought of as more individual, case by case, not as easily analyzed.  At least that is how I’m understanding it so far, no doubt I could be wrong.  What Matthew puts forth is it can be analyzed and learned from but the motivation isn’t there to do it.
Anyway, putting these two books together has given me a lot to think about.  Instead of quitting the “day after perfect” I need to accept my imperfection as part of the journey to reaching my goal.  By looking back and analyzing my previous failures, I can quickly identify my “might as wells” which will help me to attain success.
Unfortunately, accepting imperfections and analyzing past mistakes are not popular trains of thought.  It’s hard to be honest with ourselves.  It’s hard to shine the light into our dark places and expose them.  Until we do, until we face our fears, we won’t reach the finish line.
Gratefully, our light is Jesus,  His love is unconditional, nothing is hidden from Him.  He already knows our imperfections and loves us.  He already knows our mistakes and forgives us.
Christ followers always talk about applying those principles to others.  Isn’t it time we applied them to ourselves?

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