The bootstraps factor – ego appeal

By Dave Henning / October 2, 2023

“The bootstraps factor is the feeling of self-sufficiency that comes when we make something happen despite difficult circumstances.  Connection means that we require help and strength from another source and can’t make things happen on our own.”- Kyle Idleman

As Kyle Idleman moves on in Chapter 7 of When Your Way Isn’t Working, he suggests four reasons we prioritize production over connection.

1.  Approval points.  From the time we’re young, Kyle notes, it’s engrained in us that results get rewarded.  Certainly, it’s important to recognize hard work and achievement.  Yet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re become wired to place production over connection.  Because production results in praise, promotions, and pay raises.  But, Pastor Idleman contends, the church also reinforces this message.

Above all, Kyle stresses, we experience incredible freedom and motivation when we put connection first.  Connection empowers production in our lives.

2.  The Bootstraps Factor.  Bootstrapping refers to (a) the ability to get ourselves out of a difficult situation or (b) to make something happen without needing outside help or input.  As a result, it appeals to our pride and ego.  In addition, a bootstrapper finds it difficult to accept their own weakness.  Or recognize that their DIY way of living isn’t working.

3.  Compensating for feelings of failure.  When we hyperfocus on production in one area of life, that masks our failure in another area.  So, in the process, we turn our attention to a part of our life where we can better control the outcome and produce the results.

Hence, we focus on what we know.  Rather than admit our weakness and inability to do it on our own.

 4.  Measuring up.  It’s difficult to measure connection.  However, we track, calculate, and assess production.  Consequently, we usually default to production.  But Jesus wants more and more of us.  Nor more and more from us.

Today’s question: How does the Bootstraps Factor play out in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “More urgent than we realize”

About the author

Dave Henning

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