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The Cody Blog: LLT: Own Your Mistakes

Thursday, March 09, 2006

LLT: Own Your Mistakes

It's so hard to own up to our mistakes. And that's what today's Life Lesson Thursday is all about. Our egos are part of the problem. Self-esteem, you know? You're not paying attention to something, and then you realize that you're going to look stupid as you'd just silly-ly (I've always wanted to invent that word), ignored a factor that was obvious from the start. It happens, you know? Or sometimes, you're just stuck, trapped in a corner, thinking in a box. And the paradigm shift that you were supposed to understand wasn't explained to you in a straightforward simple manner.

Whatever the root of your mistake, you don't want to admit to yourself, much less to anyone else that you messed up. So you try to gloss over your misunderstanding. You try to deflect the confusion and project it onto something else. You just can't admit your mistake, not even to yourself.

And then you start layering on all the B.S. that you can come up with to rationalize making the mistake. You dig yourself a hole deeper in your own head. And you start to lose credibility to those who know you made the mistake.

But what happens when you just say, "Oh, I get it now. And wow, did I blow it."

It gets worse when someone gets hurt by your mistake. You make a bad trade. You miss a birthday. You senselessly hurt a loved one by ignoring an obvious need of theirs. Whatever, you didn't do it on purpose. (At least I hope you didn't...and ooh, that leads me to next week's LLT, which will come from my mother, and it will be about realizing the importance of "Intent". Ooh, and that reminds me of another future LLT that also comes from my mom about "picking and choosing your battles").

I'm not sure where today's LLT actually stems from. I know it partly comes from past bosses I've had, from Rod Adamson to Andrew Lanyi and I never forget the first time I read a mea culpa from Jim Cramer and what an impact it made on me.

I think part of the reason I know this LLT so intimately is indeed because so much of what I do, I do in the public eye. And I, just like everyone (wait, is that a rationalization itself?!), make a whoooole lot of mistakes. And I write the words "mea culpa" a lot. Maybe not often enough though.

Anyway the point is: Don't rationalize. Don't justify. Step up and own reality. It is what it is. Even our screw ups.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wise words. When you make a mistake, own up to it, take responsibility for it, apologize sincerely if necessary and move on. And never, ever shift blame, no matter how true or tempting. You just look like a jerk.


BTW, where and when was that dunk pic taken, Cody?

Jason B

3/09/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not to be leaving comments that are unrelated to the post (which made for interesting reading), but you wouldn't happen to know any insightful forex traders or perhaps currency arbitragists who blog?

3/10/2006 01:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your heartfelt comments Cody. They really are refreshing - and I appreciate the realism that your contains. And being willing to live your life in such an open way is admirable.
Dana (Realmoney subscriber)

3/11/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as billy joel sings 'theyre the only thing you can truly call your own'

3/12/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, you know what Cody, your "mea culpa" or anyone else's is just not enough. It is an abbreviated way of saying "It's my fault, and I am so sorry and I should never have...". It doesn't cut it. It doesn't say enough. It's a sneaking out kind of off-handed way of apologizing without taking full responsibility. It isn't enough and it is too frequently used to mean much of anything to the person who has been injured. There is a much better way to apologize and be sincere. "Mea culpa" can almost be put in the same category as "Woops"--not enough responsibility in it. It wouldn't get you or anyone else off the hook with me if I were the injured party; I would want to hear an acknowledgment that lets me know you understand fully what you did wrong and you are sorry for it. Then I could easily say, "Thank you. You're forgiven."

3/24/2006 02:01:00 PM  

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