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.