Curated Leadership for Today's World

just say no to the status quo

Posted on 19 April 2011

The Parable of Talents found in the book of Matthew, Chapter 25, is one of my favorite illustrations of conquering the fear that prevents us from achieving excellence. In the parable, a man gives each of his three servants a bag of property, some say it was gold. The number of bags given was based upon each of the servants’ ability. The owner then went on a journey and returned to see what his servants have done with what was entrusted to them.

 The first servant, who was given five bags, used his talents to gain five more. The second, who was given two bags, used his talents to also double the owner’s initial investment. The third was given one bag. He was afraid and hid his bag in the earth and returned it to the master crying, “See, you still have what is yours.” The owner cursed him as slothful, and even wicked, for not working with what he was given. The third servant’s rationale was, “I kept exactly what was given to me secure. Hence, there was no loss, so what’s the problem?”

This, “no harm, no foul” mentality gets us into trouble. The third servant didn’t fail because he did not multiply what was left in his care; he failed because he was too afraid to even try. The path to excellence is not measured in titles or cars or bottom lines or bags of money, but in our commitment to living life’s continuous journey to its fullest. And the last gentleman, unfortunately, chose to stay put.

The rewards reaped on the path to excellence are never found on the streets of status quo. And by the way, whenever you feel that you’ve done enough and it’s time to rest on your laurels for a bit, remember, there is no such thing as status quo. Time can never be recovered, inflation defeats the worth of currency, and most great opportunities only happen once. Nothing static retains its original value. Decay and depreciation is a fact of life as sure as death and taxes.

So if we’re not living the most excellent versions of ourselves, we know exactly whom to blame.

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  • Rosemary Evans: February 20, 2016

    Love this story – I actually was using this story to tell my daughter not to hide her talents -she has written two children’s books but is too afraid to do anything with them just in case no one likes them – I said that was like the story in the scriptures of the talents where the man was given 1 talent and hid it. I think we get too concerned with what others think of us instead of “justing going for it” and see what happens. When life is over and you are asked what you did with your life I think we do not want to answer that we did nothing because we were sore afraid. Thanks Tracey, that was an awesome article.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    As always Tony, thanks for reading and your encouragement!

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Hi Rosemary! That is really neat that you told you daughter this. I have had this same “speech” given to me by my parents many times in life and I give it to myself every time I hit the “fear” wall. When you realize it’s not all about end results but just being obedient in manifesting your talents, it sure frees you up in such a great way:-) Thank you for reading and for commenting Rosemary

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Awesome article and message. THANKS!

    Have fun … Tony.

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