How to Settle for Second Best

July 2, 2012 — 1 Comment


In college, a friend introduced me to a band called Pedro the Lion. The band made a concept album that told the tragic story of the disintegration of a marriage. Through haunting symbolism and poetic language, each song progressed the relationship further along its death. I’ll never forget the chorus of the song “Second Best,” which describes the moment the relationship dies, the moment of an affair.

Second best, oh second best.
I can learn to live with this.
Plus, I really need a rest.
After all, what’s wrong with second best?

This weekend, I released the first episode of my podcast, A Light Up Ahead.

I had been working on this and mulling it over for the past few months. Here are some thoughts that passed through my head while planning it out:

  • What could you say of value that isn’t already better said elsewhere?
  • You don’t know a thing about audio recording.
  • You don’t have any of the necessary equipment.
  • It’s probably a lot of complicated work to publish a podcast on iTunes.
  • You don’t have enough creativity to constantly produce a weekly show.
  • How will you be successful if you are the only one talking?
  • There’s no way you have the time for something like this.
  • Seriously, do you think anybody would even listen to this?

Now, I understand that I’ve only released one episode so far. I have no idea what the future holds. But I am proud that I accomplished my goal of publication on July 1st. It could have been easy for me to settle for second best and not try to stretch myself.

So I want to conclude this post with a step-by-step guide outlining how to settle for second best.

1. Start tomorrow. Procrastination kills dreams. It’s that simple.

2. Don’t ask, “why?” If you never question the status quo, it will never change.

3. Make excuses. Excuses are the fuel of procrastination. They help us explain our dreams to death.

4. Avoid risks. Nothing worthwhile is free of risk.  Faith in God means embracing risk.

5. Seek safety comfort above all else. The most rewarding choice often is not the most safe or secure. Comfort is not necessarily an indicator of success. To quote a song “Lions!” by Lights, “You don’t have to feel safe to be unafraid.”

6. Wait for perfection. Nothing in life is perfect. You’ll never start anything if you wait for the perfect circumstances to begin. Perfection is just an excuse in disguise.

7. Try to meet everybody’s needs. You won’t meaningfully meet anybody’s needs. Andy Stanley instead suggests, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everybody.”


If you want to have a life of significance, do the opposite of the instructions listed above. If you want to take the fast track to mediocrity, follow those instructions to the T.


What is missing from this list? What makes it easy for you to miss out on the amazing plans God has for your life?

What is something you’ve wanted to start but haven’t yet because of the reasons listed above?



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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • scrhill

    I think most of us settle for 2nd best on a daily basis. This encouraged me to strive for the very best… Starting today.