“50 cents to play, 50 cents to win!”
I used to mimic the people who ran the games tables at the fair grounds. My favourite was the colours game. You simply put your quarters on a colour and watched as the wheel spun, praying all the while that you would get a big payout of….$1. Most times I would lose but I won enough to keep playing. From early on, the message was clear. You cannot win if you don’t play. I guess the reverse is also true. You cannot lose if you don’t play either but I am not interested in safe.
I had a minor failure this a.m. while rolling out pastry for a pumpkin pie. I will spare you the dull details. Pie is made now and looks lovely. Well, it looked lovely. Now it is mostly eaten. (This is simply the Thanksgiving mention as I feel funny writing a post about losing and failure on Thanksgiving weekend when I could be writing about all that I am thankful for).
Anyway, back to the point. Someone I love dearly had a more significant failure earlier this week. It was 50x bigger than screwing up pastry. He/ she got thrown an unexpected curve ball. In the moments after learning the news, he/ she had no idea what to do with it.
Failure is like that. It can level you…for a time.
A recent speech at Toastmasters has stuck with me. The speech was entitled “Be the Babe”; it was delivered with passion by Peitro Di Benedetto (who doesn’t do anthing without gusto by the way!). Here’s a key exerpt:
We’ve all experienced unexpected challenges from time to time in our lives. The more curve balls we’re thrown, the more practice we will have at hitting them.
In 1923, Babe Ruth broke 2 important records:
- #1- The record for most home runs in a season;
- #2 (and one that most people don’t know about)- The record for the most strikes outs; he struck out more than any other player in Major League Baseball.
Babe Ruth was not afraid to strike out and it was this fearlessness that contributed to his remarkable career. When “The Babe” retired, he had 1,330 career strike outs – a record he held for 29 years until it was broken by none other than another Yankee legend, the great Mickey Mantle.
Around the same time, my favourite blogger, Penelope Trunk, wrote about taking intelligent risks. It’s all tied into willingness to play and lose/ to try and fail. Here are Penelope’s top five on how to take intelligent risks (read her full post and check out the great new wallpaper she hastily applied with Elmer’s glue) :
- Long term regrets are usually about not taking more risks;
- Being wrong costs very little;
- People bounce back faster than they expect;
- Don’t make the risk bigger than it needs to be;
- Most risks turn out fine.
So what does this seemingly meandering, hastily written post boil down to?
It seems the logical conclusion is to take lots of intelligent risks (i.e. play often). Swing at the curve balls and strike out often in order to hit more home runs. And know that even when you lose/ fail, like my friend did this week and I did for two years in trying to have a baby, that you will be feeling better in no time. The costs are small in the long run and you will forget how much they stung when you eventually win. And by the way, the people who love you will love you just as much if not more for playing in the first place.
“Looks like it’s gonna be, and it is….GREEN…luck of the Irish!”