My sister and her husband live on the Naval Station Great Lakes located north of Chicago. I’m visiting for a few days and had a chance to walk along Lake Michigan. Along the beach was a group of 75 young men jogging carrying 55 pound bags of sand. They stopped on the beach for a series of press-ups (push-ups), leg lifts, and sit-ups before marching away with the bags held over their heads. It was serious exercise.
You can watch a video about the training here.
I asked my brother-in-law about it and he said that this was the beginning phase of the training for the Navy Seals – arguably the most physically demanding military training program in the world. He said the drop-out rate is over 80%. 8 out of 10 guys enter into the program fail. Those are not good odds.
Each of them knows the stats – they will probably fail. Why do they even try?
Even though the odds are against them, each man thinks the achievement of becoming a Navy Seal is worth the risk of failure. They are attempting something so difficult that the vast majority of fail. A few do become Navy Seals, but failure is the final destination for most of those guys working out in the sand.
It’s a little late for most of us to join the Seals. Too old and too weak. But it’s not too late to attempt something that is so difficult, the risk of failure is very real.
Run a half-marathon.
Start a business.
Plant a church.
Move your family.
Start a Bible study.
Learn another language.
25 years ago I heard this quote from John Haggai which has stuck with me:
“Attempt something so impossible that unless God is in it, it’s doomed to failure.”
Are you attempting “the impossible”? Don’t let the possibility of failure get in the way of your attempt of something out of the ordinary. To often we play it safe. Making sure success is guaranteed. But if success is guaranteed then our sights are set too low.
Failure is OK. Not making an attempt? That is true failure.