Time and Chance

Time and ChanceConcorde was a child of the 60s. Flying 11 miles above the earth at twice the speed of sound, this jet was literally faster than a rifle bullet. London to New York in 2 hours and 53 minutes.

The Concorde isn’t flown anymore.

During a routine take-off in July, 2000, Concorde blew a tire after hitting a small piece of metal on a runway in Paris. A chunk of the tire knocked a hole in the wing, spilling fuel down the side of the plane just as it was lifting off. Ninety seconds later, the plane exploded in the air.

The public was terrified. The Concorde fleet was grounded.

After reinforcing the wings with bulletproof Kevlar and installing puncture-proof tires, the senior executives of Concorde’s parent company boarded the plane in September, 2001 and flew halfway across the Atlantic and back to demonstrate their confidence in the plane’s safety. While they were in the air, terrorists flew commercial jets into the World Trade Center.

Now everyone was afraid to travel.

Having already been out of operation for 14 months, Concorde was unable to recover from this second financial whammy.

Solomon, known for his good advice, said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

Then he followed this eye-of-the-tiger pitch by saying in the next verse,

“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.”
– Ecclesiastes chapter 9

Robbie Burns agreed with Solomon’s assessment of time and chance. Apologizing to a mouse whose burrow he accidentally uncovered while plowing his field, he said most famously in 1785:

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I share these things with you because I know some of you are facing failure. Don’t let it bother you. Failure, like success, is a temporary condition. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

FAILURE: Because sometimes your very best just isn’t good enough.

Amen. Now we’re done with it. Turn your face to the rising sun.

Tigers are happiest when they’re chasing their dinner.
Even when they fail to catch it, the chase is fun.

Let your tiger run.

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2 Responses to “Time and Chance”

  1. Richard October 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    how true… the greatest successes usually come with great risk, but when taking great risks, you don’t have a right to expect great success.

  2. Joel October 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    I’ve realized that I really do love the chase, perhaps even more than the success, so I’ve learned to be happier as I strive for the thing, rather than waiting till I get there to be satisfied.

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