Excellence vs The Cheap Knock-Off

When you go to the hardware store looking to buy a new 18v cordless drill you’ll find some for $400 and up, and you’ll find some for $100 and down.

That which determines which drill you buy depends on whether you are a professional construction worker or an ambitious “do-it-yourselfer”/accountant. The accountant sees a loose screw somewhere in his house, grabs his new drill, tightens up the screw, and says, “Wow, that was much easier than using a screwdriver! That’s the best $99.99 I ever spent!” Then he puts the drill in a drawer where it collects dust for the next six months. The construction worker takes the $100 drill to the work site and all the cool kids laugh at him. When he drops the drill for the first time, and it blows up into a million pieces, he curses and says, “That’s the worst $100 I ever spent! Why did I go so cheap?”

The cheap knock-offs exist for the amateur who wants something that’ll give the appearance of professionalism. The amateur is happy to have something that looks professional, and it’ll work fine for him as long as he doesn’t work it too hard. As soon as he works his knock-off too hard it’ll blow up in his face–but that’s not likely to happen because he’s an amateur. When a professional uses a knock-off it’ll blow up in his face very quickly.

This is a lesson I obviously learned on the construction field, but it easily translates to the mission field as well. We want to do our work with excellence and professionalism. That means we have to be good communicators–both within our own teams and with other teams; we have to plan ahead–even though we know we may have to change those plans at the last minute, we still plan as though we won’t have to change them at the last minute–because professionals have for-sight and therefore rarely have to change anything; we set a high standard for ourselves and don’t settle for second best.

Amateurs don’t communicate, they plagiarize, they “fly by the seat of their pants”, they throw things together at the last minute, and they don’t plan ahead. They create the appearance of professionalism, but as soon as they’re expected to be truly professional they blow up.

Excellence attracts excellence. I figure that if I can do my work on the mission field with excellence then I will attract people who will do likewise. It takes time, there’s a lot to learn, but I’m determined not to settle for amateurism!

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One response to “Excellence vs The Cheap Knock-Off

  1. Good thoughts here Harley. At times I question why I strive for high standards when sometimes it seems like it doesn’t matter? Plans change & then get thrown out altogether. The rains come. The sound system is working. Some teams don’t turn up for the sports tournament. Etc etc etc. But it’s good to remember that it’s worth planning as well as planning to be flexible! And when we set high standards, we encourage and expect other people to aim high too!

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