Katie Ledecky is the 19 yr. old swimmer who blasted through world records and won several gold medals. In an interview during the recent Olympics, a news anchor asked her, “So what is the secret to your success?” She said something phenomenal: “The secret is…there is no secret. Just put in the work.” Is she right?
Reminds me of the movie, Kung Fu Panda. Brilliant animation. PO is a giant Panda, His father wants him to be a chef and make incredible noodle soup but he doesn’t know the secret ingredient. Then PO is chosen to be the Dragon Warrior to bring peace to the valley by defeating the dreaded Tiger. But PO is no Kung Fu fighter. The final step to becoming Dragon Warrior is to obtain the scroll as he's told by his Master: You will never be the Dragon Warrior until you have learned the secret of the Dragon Scroll. The scroll contained the secret to limitless power—but could only be read by the true dragon warrior. He never believes he is the Dragon Warrior but obtains the scroll and finds nothing but his reflection on a glossy page. As he runs to save the village anyway, his father tells him,
Father: I think it’s time I told you something. The secret ingredient in the soup? It’s nothing.
Father: Nothing. YOU don’t HAVE TO MAKE SOMETHING special… you just have to believe it’s special.”
At that moment PO realizes that the secret of the dragon scroll, the secret to limitless power is belief. So he goes and saves the village because he believes in himself.
Sounds good? Sounds attractive. And confidence might help when it comes to animated stories of Panda bears saving villages. What’s the secret? What’s the secret sauce to living? What's the secret to success? The message of most self-help books as in Kung Fu Panda is, 'Believe in yourself.' Secret to being salesman of the month? Secret to picking up the woman of your dreams? 'Belief in yourself.' Timothy Keller says that’s the only current moral absolute: “You gotta be yourself.” I think he’s right. Just about everything that is right or wrong in our culture can be traced back to that mantra: “I believe in myself.”
But here's a thought: there are lot of people in prison because they believed in themselves, even though they were wrong. And a lot of hurt in the world is the result of people who believe in themselves—whether it’s the alcoholic or the gambler—who believes they are invincible.
Jesus comes along and says this is flawed philosophy. In effect, He says the opposite: “Without me, you can do nothing.” In one way He’s saying, “Stop believing in yourself. Instead believe in me.” So Christianity says, “Don’t believe in your own limitless power. Believe in Jesus and He'll give you a new self.” Now that’s something to believe in.