Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sufficiently Epic (Part 2)

Part 1 here, in which I tell you that the speaker, Phil Libin, is an idiot (sortof/not really). But now I’m going to completely flip flop and tell you he’s exactly right (sortof/not really). And the beauty of a blog is that everyone (read: no one) has to read what I say and agree with me (don’t argue… that’s exactly how blogging works.)

The truth is that Mr. Libin is spot on, except for one huge caveat. He defined epic wrong.

Mr. Libin apparently talks to a lot of people, and after hearing their ideas often thinks, “Aw, that’s lame. That’s not very epic.” But he thinks epic is cool or big. Libin is saying you need to tackle a big problem, an epic problem (totally right). Then he implies that “epic” is entirely quantifiable here (totally wrong). That’s insufficiently epic, and deceptively so.

The truth is that many peoples’ ideas are insufficiently epic because they are almost always focused and framed in earthly terms (how much money can I make, who can I impact, how much status can I achieve?) But the truly epic ideas have eternal implications (am I being obedient to God’s calling?). The danger of “sufficiently epic” by Mr. Libin’s definition, is that it sets the bar for epic too low. His vision of sufficiently epic is pretty meager. It’s way too small.

Any definition of epic that isn’t aligned with infinity is too small. (Tweet that – you know… it you wanted to.) Think about that though. I don’t care if you abolished slavery single-handed – if you didn’t do it in obedience to God, your ultimate impact is insufficiently epic. On the other hand, if you answer phones for 8 hours today out of obedience to the call God has given you, your work is epic in the eyes of the only judging authority that matters.

Ultimately, we should always be asking “Is my work sufficiently epic?” But you have to correctly define epic. If you mess up that definition, you miss the opportunity to do truly epic things while you chase after something ‘sufficiently’ so.

Sufficiently Epic

This guy has a good idea, but the problem is that nothing you do will ever be sufficiently epic. This guy sets epic as something cool. But he (who has done some cool things) will die. And one day the evernote servers will shut down, and that will be the end of that. This guy had a cool short talk, but I’ve already forgotten his name. You probably have too. Is that epic enough for you?

What is the point?

By his standard, anything ‘not sufficiently epic’ isn’t worth doing. He says “Maybe you can make money on it or maybe you can’t but it’s not worth your life. Don’t work on it if it’s not worth your life. Make something sufficiently epic.”

But by his standard 99.9% of all the stuff we do isn’t worth our life. So if we follow his logic, we have to conclude that we need to do something different, something more. What we’re doing right now isn’t sufficiently epic and it’s not worth our lives.

And my argument will continue to be that he’s wrong. That it’s all worth your life. All of it. Because if an all powerful God has asked you to join with him in his mission of restoring the world by filing TPS reports, that’s sufficiently epic.

Customer service, done to the glory of God, aligned with his mission is sufficiently epic. Organizing your desk, done to the glory of God, aligned with his mission is sufficiently epic. Balancing a budget, done to the glory of God, aligned with his mission is sufficiently epic.

Your life. All of it.

Even the “boring” bits are sufficiently epic when aligned with God’s will and mission. You get to work, today, on changing the world. And that just might happen one “non-epic” task at a time.