The title of this post has so many implications on every level of living. But my purpose here is with your career and calling.

I worked with a church recently who completed a massive update to their sound system. It was in desperate need, and although it was expensive, it positively transformed the Sunday service experience.

When I asked why they’d gone so long with a truly terrible sound system, the surprising response was, “We’d just gotten used to it.”

That means the long-time members didn’t think it needed changing because they were used to it. But it was absolute torture for new visitors. (And it was a big reason those new visitors weren’t coming back.)

That made me think: “What have I tolerated that I shouldn’t?”

Have I tolerated employees who show up late to meetings?
Have I tolerated poor performance because I’m a people pleaser?
Have I tolerated poor treatment of our clients because I’m not paying attention?
Have I tolerated my own poor work habits because I’ve just gotten used to it?
Have I tolerated my own lack of growth because I’ve gotten lazy?
Have I tolerated my becoming a poor partner in my marriage?
Have I tolerated my spending less time with my children?

The list is long, and worth thinking about. We can – and should – be tolerant of other ideas, and civil in our relationships. But when it comes to tolerating personal habits in our work and calling, it’s time we raise the bar. As G.K. Chesterton said:

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”


This article originally appeared at Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a media producer and consultant to churches and ministries around the world. His latest book is “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking.” Find out more at

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