"The fatal flaw of productivity is the presumption that we can plan ahead without budgeting for the unexpected." -Scott Belsky
I wrote earlier about failure, and failing forward. I'm not promoting that we desire to failure or even seek after it, but rather that we not fear failure or let it incapacitate us from moving forward, taking risks, or seeking change. I also think there is a lot to be learned from failing - or from not succeeding.
In the article Nobody's Perfect: why we all need a margin for error, Scott Belsky raises an important issue about how failure or imperfection affects our ability to accomplish our daily work and how our pursuit of perfection may limit our ability to truly get things done. I resonate with this post because it's often true in my own life. The importance of making room for margin is so key in our lives because the day rarely goes like we expect it to. And if you are like me, you get frustrated when the "abnormal" happens and interrupts the "normal." Although the truth of the matter is that the unexpected is actually normal if you look over the trajectory of your days. Belsky makes the point that we need to create margin in our lives to make room for the unexpected. Plus, God is often most poignant and present in the margins.
In fact, the idea of margin is not so different than the concept of sabbath or rest. I'm not talking about a specific religious day, but about the practice of leaving enough margin so that the unexpected can break through, and so that we can live lives that are not full of our own control. Isn't that the truth? If we could just control every moment of every day and no mistakes happened, all would be well with the world? Well, not really. It is in our letting go of control while still living intentionally that great things seem to happen. Call it an intentional openhandedness with life and open-mindedness to possibility.
"Ambition becomes counter-productive when you pursue your goals without the humbling realization that things seldom go as planned." - Scott Belsky
So, how do you plan for some white space, some margin, some room for the unexpected in life so that when things do go awry, you don't get knocked off your rocker.
- I preached a sermon a few years back on the subject of margin in Scripture. You can listen to it here.
- I've really appreciated the following books which deal with margin in life:
- Juggling Elephants by Jones Loflin and Todd Musig
- Margin: restoring emotional, physical, financial, and time reserves to overloaded lives by Richard Swenson
- Restoring Margin to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson
- Boundaries: when to say YES, when to say NO to take control of your life by Henry Cloud & John Townsend
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