Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

It’s Not Enough to Only Fix What is Broken

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As the saying goes, we usually don’t bother fixing something until there is clear evidence that it doesn’t work.

The United States federal budget. Coffee mugs. Healthcare. Transmissions. Legs.

When we see things break, we feel a call to action. To fix it.

photo by lynnepet (Creative Commons)

The assumption is that everything that isn’t broken doesn’t need to be fixed. That it works as well as it can.

You are probably living a good story. You have a beautiful family. A comfortable house. Plenty of ways to entertain yourself. An immaculate front yard.

The question isn’t whether or not you are living a good story. The important question to ask is if your story is the best possible one.

Maybe it’s not just broken items that need to be fixed, but also good items that work perfectly well.

Are you living the best possible story? What about your life isn’t broken, but still needs to be fixed?

Leave a comment.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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20 Replies

  1. Mike Zserdin

    Powerful questions Jeremy, “what isn’t broken but, needs to be fixed?”

    We’re asking this question in our home, “do our values and practices (time, money, relationships, activities) reflect that which truly matters?”

    The adjustments are playing out…I’ll keep you posted.


  2. Good is the enemy of great.  It brings comfort, complacency.  Even if everything is “good” we are not maximizing our potential – in family, health, industry.  

    I think it’s a question of what motivates or inspires us.  Is it a big vision?  Do you have a purpose?  Is it simply not breaking down?  Is it getting from day to day?  

    Humans like routines.  What routines are keeping your story from being the best possible one?

  3. Jeremy, this is POWERFUL. I realized I had to say no to some good things in my life recently. It wasn’t easy. It felt a little like failure changing my priorities list and saying no to good things. Thankfully it’s not a PERMANENT no. I look at more of as not right now kind of thing. Not in this season of my life.  

     Don Miller mentioned this at Storyline:  “What do you think when someone tells you no, that is not an area I want to pursue? You respect them. They are focused and determined.”

  4. You sound like a Jim Collins fan.

    For me it’s the routine of not saying yes.

    The routine of being distracted by stuff that doesn’t matter.

    The routine of not pursuing something when I realize that it will be difficult.

  5. I’m still trying to figure the “no” thing out. I am learning to say it, but having discernment about when to say is also important.

  6. We are ALL figuring it out, so don’t worry about it. It took me several months to realize what I was doing was not in alignment with the goals I set. 

    And I fought myself MANY times in wanting to say no to these things. If there is a CONSTANT struggle going on with one particular area and not much joy, that is an indicator that something might have to change. 

  7. I fall prey to those first two routines as well.  As much as I try it is quite hard to not be distracted by all the noise.  Constant interruption of the unimportant pervades the day.

    Mix that in with trying to re-prioritize with a baby dropping in 6 weeks, and it’s easy to feel like I’m standing still.

  8. A visit from the stork is always unsettling. I’ve been through it 4 times now. I have found the secret ingredient to managing everything to be having an absolutely amazing wife.

  9. Thoughtfull post Jeremy.

    I am naturally attracted to broken situations and people. So though I love intentional growth and development, sometimes am not as deliberate as I’d like.

    An examined life is indeed a powerful life.

  10. I don’t live the comfortable, middle class you describe. But there’s much about my life that isn’t broken…but could use a bit of sprucing up. I write. I write everyday and have for about 20 years. But I don’t publish. now i have a book I want to write – and others who want me to write it. it’s a hard book and it’s going to be hard (as in emotional, charged, and so on) to read. I’m struggling to write now. i am just telling you this because i read certain people’s blogs to stay inspired. I read yours. So, thank you for keeping in the stream.

  11. Ironic that, in the email, at least, the “leave a comment” link ( was broken. 😀

    Thankfully you do still support fixing what’s broken. 😀

    Seriously, though, there’s the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There’s also the more humorous (to many, at least, though the number of people who take this seriously is not funny) one: “if it ain’t broke, fix it until it is.”

    Too often that’s what we do, isn’t it? If it’s not broken, we tinker with it, play with it, mess with it, try to “enhance” it … and wind up with it broken.

    Doesn’t that really describe life without Christ? We don’t think it’s broken — we can’t see that it’s broken — so we try to improve on it without consulting the design or the Designer. We overclock and hack our lives, and wind up breaking because we simply weren’t designed to do all that, even if we weren’t broken anyway.

  12. iamwendydawn

    This really made me think. (Not an especially easy task after being somewhat sleep deprived 🙂 However, I thought about my husband who for six weeks now post-op from a torn quadricep tendon rupture, has had to keep his right leg completely straight at all times or risk messing up what was repaired. Today which ironically is also his birthday, he was supposed to be able to graduate to his hinged brace. However, at the appointment it was determined that the brace they had for him wouldn’t fit so he came back home still sporting this worn out Velcro leg immobilizer. So even though his leg is “fixed” he still has a long way to go with physical therapy, etc. With all that said, he could choose to forgo the therapy course and never completely receive the best possible range of motion post injury. In life sometimes I think we do that too. We choose short term fixes over long term gains. We get discouraged because the process seems to be taking forever. We short change ourselves by going through the day to day life routine, all the while knowing we have a unique gift mix of potential just waiting to be tapped into. There are tools, resources, books, and blogs out there to help our potential produce actual results yet we opt to say “I don’t have time to invest in myself.” So am I using all the potential I have been given to be the best possible me? Am I merely settling for what already is? Thanks Jeremy for always challenging me to self-reflect even if I am not sure I want to see the actual reflection.

  13. I can clearly appreciate your analogy. A big part of my job is trying to get people through the bought times of pain and immobilization period so that they can finally get their extremity back.

  14. I am glad to hear you are writing something difficult. The world needs books like this.

  15. I agree. I think we spend a lot of time trying to fix our souls with something that simply won’t do the trick.

  16. As someone who’s life, not all that long ago, was severely broken, I love this. While there were countless hours dealing with the ugly, today, there’s been a shift towards building and making things even better. My life isn’t broken, but it’s still short of God’s best, and that the journey I find myself on today.

  17. iamwendydawn

    If I had not been a nurse, and been a constant reminder in his ear regarding the importance of keeping the immobilizer on and not bending the leg…..I’m not too sure he would have complied with the restrictions. But during very trying times I have found there’s always something good which comes out of it. Because you can only watch so much TV, one day while pondering his present difficulty he discovered an idea for a pretty nifty ortho invention. After speaking with his surgeon today, he said he definitely needs to move forward with it. So who knew this would end up possibly being profitable. Now I guess we need to do some research on patents and manufacturing….if you have any book recommendations would you mind sharing?

  18. I like this one, Jeremy.

    Quite a while back I wrote a post called “Just say no to crap”.

    In this article I wrote that EVERYTHING wants to turn to crap. 

    If it is not broke, and you just leave it alone, eventually it will be broke, because everything wants to fall into a state of disrepair.

    My A&P professor last semester was expressing his dislike for evolution. He used the analogy that he has never owned a car that got better over time. They all turned to junk. The universe moves from order to disorder.

    Our lives are the same.

  19. Thanks to the Grace of God, I’ve got that one covered, he sent me a great one.  

    Any other tips?  This is my first one.  Managing the tension between work and being with my son has been on the forefront of my mind.  

  20. Work is work. You have to do it. Bills have to be paid. The real tension is between your son and yourself. One of the most difficult parts of parenting is walking away from what you love to do so that you can do what he will love to do.

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