Defying Diversification

I’m old enough to remember when you bought an appliance, you were taking care of that issue for at least 15 years or longer. Not so today. We just replaced a washer that was not even three years old. The cost to fix it, coupled with the time waiting for parts, etc., would have been far too much of the replacement cost to take the chance on fixing one that the repairman and all those people on-line tell me would just break down again soon anyway.

I spoke with an appliance repairman who said most of what he works on these days is appliances less than 5 years old. Here’s a major component of this obsolescence issue … We tend to like our electronic gadgets these days with lots of bells and whistles … incredible tech on a machine that, for example, is just supposed to get the dirt out of your clothing with water and soap. And designer style and colors are important for stain removal too … evidently.

So, enter the tech companies into the world of appliances. Those who make TVs and smartphones can surely make better, faster, and cooler washers, dryers, and frigs, right? But they are tech companies, not appliance makers. So, the resolve here is basically the ingenuity of a smartphone hooked onto a tub of water that spins … the wow factor of a state-of-the-art tablet latched onto a device that freezes food.

You following me here? … Good … So here’s the take-away.

God fashioned and created us into highly unique individuals with diverse thoughts and amazing intellect. But for 99% of us, he gives us one calling. We are really great at one thing and we need to figure out what that is—and He’ll help us. Sure, we can diversify that thing into a few areas, maybe, but we really still will excel only at the one.

A very wise man told me years ago, all preachers, teachers, evangelists, and ministers have one message—just one—and we just keep figuring out different ways to communicate that to as many people as possible in as many different methods as we can. Why is that? Because we have one calling, so it makes sense that calling has one message that we just put on repeat. That’s not a bad thing; it’s actually the plan.

So, when you’re great at making washing machines, don’t be tempted to make smartphones. Leave that to the guy with the smartphone calling. If you are great at making tablets, don’t be tempted to make dishwashers. Leave that to the dishwasher people. “But Robert, think of the money I can make or the people I can reach putting my tablet tech on a dishwasher and diversifying?” No, sorry, you’ll stink at dishwashers. Yes, they will look cool and be pretty, but they’ll break down in 2 years, because that is not your thing. You’re a tablet guy and a good one.

What if we all found our one thing and then hit the gas? That amazing, incredible, unique calling that God made special just for us and we laser-focused there and there only? Man, I bet we could change the world. And isn’t that really the point? Its not really about what you produce, it’s why you produce it. Just because we can doesn’t mean its best.

I told the delivery driver I was going back to letting the people who have made amazing TVs for 20 years sell me TVs and washer companies who have made washers for 20 years sell me washers. He was about as old as the frig in our garage, so I’m not sure he understood … yet … but he will.

In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do … I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out … —Ephesians 4:1-3 MSG

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