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Mistakes: Call a Spade a Spade

Remember when airlines would give us decks of cards? I would play as much as I could (often alone) before my grandmother would catch me and toss them – the devil’s workshop she called them. In college and as an adult, I spent many a night talking mess with partners doing our best to run a Boston. My friends and I love to play long, testy games. We’re a competitive lot. After playing years of spades, Bid Whist and rummy, the “spade is a spade” reference became very commonplace.

Motivational Message - but is it true?

Motivational Message – but is it true?

My uncle would translate for those who didn’t understand. “It is what it is,” he’d say in his deep baritone that helped drive the point home. So when I see the myriad memes and quotes throughout social media like the one to the right, sometimes I get a little perturbed. I find myself wanting to believe in the feel good message that assures me that even my “errors are correct” as Nikki Giovanni so eloquently wrote.

Do my mistakes simply mean that I’m being active or dutiful? Are they just another showcase for my hard work and effort? In some cases, yes.  There are occasions that I err while trying to make something better or even great. However that’s not a universal truth. Let’s call it. The spade.

“We made too many wrong mistakes.” Yogi Berra

There are other occasions where the mistakes are real, devastating errors – perhaps deliberate ones. As Yogi Berra put it, those are the wrong ones. They may be born of habits that we’ve developed over the years.  They tend to be situations we land in over and over even though we recognize the signs because we’ve been down the road and around that bend before.  You may have predicted the repercussions but you still did or didn’t do something simple like the following:

  • Keep track of your checking account balance
  • Keep a diet or food log when trying to get back in shape
  • Think before speaking in a testy meeting.

Shall I go on? Nah.  You get the point.

I’m all for motivation and encouragement. I believe in shoring up each other in order to create  strong communities of successful friends and family. But truth must be at the core of that building process. Sharing the facts in a productive, affirming manner is key if one is to accept that he or she simply made a big error. Those mistakes may be indicators of specific ssues that must be addressed if we’re to grow and get the positives that all of those motivational posters promise us.

Play your cards right today.

Play your cards right today.

As long as we have another morning, another round, another hand, we have a shot at getting it right and winning the game. Our errors can be corrected and we can work to eliminate the habits that bog us down and hamper productivity. But first and foremost, you must bid your hand – be honest with yourself about that mistake and decide to eliminate the conditions that led to the problem as much as possible.

Now go on. Make your bid.

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This entry was posted on 06/27/2013 by in Cup of Coffee, DOOR #3 and tagged , , , , .
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