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Don't agonize over things done.; don't hold too dearly prizes won.

by Rick Baker
On Oct 19, 2015

Mistakes are a fundamental piece of the human condition. Everybody makes mistakes. At least, that's our perception.

We perceive others making mistakes - perhaps that started two ways: (1) when we were first told we could not do things we wanted to do and (2) when we first noticed people not doing things the way we thought those things should have been done.

We perceive our own mistakes - we notice ourselves doing things we think are wrong and we notice some things we do bring about undesirable results. Sometimes our mistakes barely register...like passing little, harmless faux pas. Other times we perceive our mistakes as major, problematic. Whether or not our mistakes have little or large consequences, sometimes we learn from them and sometimes we do not. When we learn from our mistakes we pave the path for good habits. When we to not learn from our mistakes we pave the path for bad habits.

Sometimes, we agonize over our mistakes. We analyse them ad nauseam. We try in vain to sort out why we did them. We wish we could undo the damage they created. We wish we had the opportunity to relive past experiences and get it right the second time. All of this wishing and agonizing - all this grieving over our mistakes - goes way beyond learning from our mistakes and places us in a self-destructive mind zone.

So, from time to time we need to remind ourselves: "Don't agonize over things done."


Recognition of success is a fundamental piece of the human condition. Everybody yearns for recognition. At least, that's our feeling.

When we do things successfully, gratification [when it comes] comes to us two ways: (1) intrinsically - self-satisfaction around tasks well done and (2) extrinsically - approving feedback from others. All of this recognition around tasks well performed can be viewed as prizes.

We deliver some of the prizes to ourselves. We receive some of the prizes from others. Some of the prizes are intangible. Some are tangible.

Sometimes, we downplay these prizes...having trouble receiving recognition and/or pretending we do not value them. Sometimes, we hold them so tightly they become a routine. Sometimes, we become consumed by the memories of past successes. Sometimes we repeat stories about them over and over and over...like the 'Glory Days' in that Bruce Springsteen song. We grope and grasp at our stories of the past...desperately holding on to past-directed thoughts...desperately holding on to our prizes...and missing the opportunities to succeed in new ways.

So, from time to time we need to remind ourselves: "Don't hold too dearly prizes won."





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