December 13, 2020: Episode 73 | Speaking of Optimism
The message that sparked the conversation ... The Prophet's Paradox
Is your glass half full or half empty? Which is more realistic? Jump into this conversation about Jim Stockdale, Daniel’s final vision, and the dangers of optimism.
- When someone asks, "What do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news?" what do you normally say?
- Which are you in more danger of becoming—the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand (i.e., hiding from bad news), or saying "the sky is falling" like Chicken Little (i.e., missing the good news)?
- Inspired by the story of prisoner-of-war (POW), Admiral Jim Stockdale, author Jim Collins coined the phrase, "The Stockdale Paradox," which reflects Stockdale's mindset as a POW in Vietnam for almost 8 years. Stockdale said, "I never lost faith in the end of the story ...not only that would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade." Collins asked him, "Who didn't make it?" Admiral Stockdale answered, "The optimists." So, Collins summarized the mindset as the Stockdale Paradox: "Confront the brutal facts of your present reality, no matter how difficult they may be, yet never lose hope that you will prevail in the end" (Collins, Good to Great, 85-86). How do you react to the Stockdale Paradox? How is it helpful? What might it overlook?
- We've been listening to the OT Book of Daniel, and chapters 10-12 inspire a posture that reflects what may be a Biblical version of the paradox stated above. Daniel gets a glimpse into a turbulent, violent, seemingly uncontrollable future. God's people will suffer and stumble. The present reality is brutal. Yet, the divine messenger won't let Daniel forget the end of the story. As you listen to these experts from Daniel 10-12, what's a word or expression that "gets" you? Why did it get you?
- Reflecting on this, what are you getting to know more deeply about the God and Father of Jesus?
- How is this good news for you?
- Coming away from this discussion, what do you want to say to people in your household, congregation, or neighborhood?