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So what? Now what?

Jay Parks

May 16, 2017

The head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Chuck Pagano, has a saying for everything. He may not have coined this saying, but he sure says it a lot: “So what? Now what?”

How I view this quote, in the terms of football, is like this. When something bad happens on the football field and the players come off the field saying things like, “Coach, they held me! They blocked me in the back!” the response is, “So what? Now what?”

There are all kinds of events and circumstances that are out of our control. What we can control, though, is the way we react tho those situations. All you can do is move on from the event and learn from it. So what? Now what?

The more I learn about Chuck Pagano, the more I appreciate this quote. He’s a really neat guy that had leukemia. He overcame cancer and used a bunch of sayings to get through the treatments. He’s really inspirational.

When something challenging happens, you can look back on it and think, it cannot be that bad. It just can’t be because it’s already over. It happened. What comes next?

When I played football, we were very small. Our offensive line was tiny. We shouldn’t have been very successful, not based on the way things looked. But we had a play that we ran so often, we did it better than anybody else. We would run a sweep, running outside toward the sidelines, about 40-50% of the time, and that’s how we got around our bad-looking circumstances.

To me, that’s a great exercise in the “So what? Now what?” mentality Pagano has.

You can use this saying in every aspect of your life:

  • You get a big client? So what? Now what?
  • You scored a touchdown? So what? Now what?
  • You lost a sale? So what? Now what?
  • You get a promotion? So what? Now what?

For me, I’m a driver. When I do something well, I want to do it even better. When I succeed, I want to succeed some more.

This keeps driving me forward. It keeps me leaning into everything so that I can be better, do more, and be more impactful. It also keeps my head level so I don’t get too caught up in my problems. When things go sour, it’s okay. It’s not that bad. It’s just one event in the journey.

I once heard Steve Farrar unpack Psalms 23 for two hours. He really focused on the word “through,” when David talks about going through the valley of the shadow of death. It isn’t about the destination, it’s a journey.

This journey has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the beginning, it’s not a big deal because you’re just starting. The valley isn’t unbearable. In the middle, it starts to get tougher. The valley begins to seem unbearable. In the end, though, the journey wasn’t actually that bad, because you’re looking back at the end of it.

So what? Now what? Tomorrow, you can ask the same questions in whatever situation comes up then. Go through the journey of the day.

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