Monday, October 24, 2011

How to back a winner every time

When I was in the Twin Cities this weekend, I had an opportunity to witness the final few days before that church opened.  It was a spectacle.  Hundreds of people worked around the clock to get that Church opened so that Scientology could be delivered to that community.  I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this process and contributing to it.

I talked to a Humanitarian who had been filing folders for 26 hours straight when they finally finished the last box of folders that ended the project - less than 12 hours before of the Grand Opening.  She was thrilled to be part of the final hours.

It struck me that she could have sat back to "see" whether or not the filing got done in time for the opening.  She had certainly donated, and no one could pretend that she hadn't contributed to the church - her name as a Humanitarian on the plaque in the new building attested to the fact that she wasn't a slouch; however, she was in there pitching, along with a few dozen other people.  They made that project go right in the final hours, and somehow I doubt that they begrudge their hours of lost sleep now that it is done.

We love to back winners.  We love to know that the guy/gal/church/ army/wife/runner/boxer/team we are rooting for is going to win - that our love and appreciation, our cheers, our financial support and lost sleep are well-spent and that we do not waste our precious resources.  After all, we all have limited time and money to devote to a cause.  We would like to know that those coins are spent in the best manner possible.  We certainly don't want to be "wrong" about our choice.

Chesterton describes this position well in his book, What is Wrong with the World.  He points out that we can never actually back a "winner," as when we are backing them, they haven't won yet.  In his own words, "There is no such thing as fighting on the winning side; one fights to find out which is the winning side."

The spectator who has doubts and so hangs back, the sneering satirist who thinks that pessimism is viable social policy, the lazy gal who sleeps while her friends work their guts out, may all think that they avoid "wasting effort" and avoid "looking silly" by trying to get anything done at all, however, I think it's only the people who try to make a winner that ever will.

I'd personally like to congratulate the staff and the volunteers of the Church of Scientology of Twin Cities - you've all set an example for what it is to persist and to win.

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