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A Game
Of Mistakes

Written Sunday 10/16/05 by Joe Rossini

After searching the internet for a while, I could not find the origin of the phrase “Monday Morning Quarterback.” Thus I can only imagine that it was coined by an influential individual like the late and great sportscaster Howard Cosell, who loved to analyze and debate the mistakes made after Sunday’s NFL games. “Monday Morning Quarterbacking,” is a sport of its own. Millions of them tune in for hours of call-in talk radio shows after the completion of all sporting events. These shows are popular with fans all over the country, to debate the strengths and weaknesses of each team as well as groan about the mistakes made that could have altered the outcome of each game. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis – or the results of just about any game or event in life – might be determined by some simple mistake!

As you well know, it’s always easier to analyze any event in life after it has occurred. All major sporting events today are filmed in their entirety and can be replayed over and over by coaches and players, to learn what occurred – both good and bad, to cause the final results. A lot of time is invested to identify and try to correct the mistakes made, in order to prepare better for the next event and improve its outcome. The “what if scenarios” can be debated for hours; however the outcomes can usually be attributed to one or two key mistakes – made by a player, a coach, or perhaps a referee or official of the game. But rest assured that all roads of debate lead to the critical mistakes made.

But let’s not limit “A Game of Mistakes” to sports. The same rules regarding errors in judgment or execution apply to just about anything we do in life. For instance – if you run a red light or drive after a few drinks of alcohol and get caught….you made a big mistake! You will pay dearly. Or maybe you are late for a critical sales presentation because you didn’t allow yourself sufficient travel time…. another big mistake. Perhaps you will lose a sale; lose your company’s best client; or even lose your job!

How about the game of Chess? Do you play? On any given day, a mediocre player can beat a seasoned player, due to a simple error. I call this the ultimate game of mistakes. You just need one small distraction – which takes your mind off the game for one critical move – which results in losing one critical piece - leading you down a road to suffer a drawn out embarrassing loss. If you play chess, you know what I mean!

Errors and mistakes are all part of life. We all make them. But too often, we don’t prepare or practice the necessary precautions to avoid the greatest mistakes in our lives. A good example of poor preparedness leading to enormous pain and suffering recently occurred during Hurricane Katrina. The “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” will go on for years regarding this tragic event. Errors and mistakes in planning for this event date back to decades before this event even occurred. People in the know – predicted the exact scenario that happened – and because of errors in judgment and poor preparedness – millions of people will suffer for years to come – and hundred of billions of dollars will be spent to correct the costly mistakes made.

You can travel back through history and identify and complain about the numerous errors that could have or should have been avoided. That’s what “Monday Morning Quarterbacks,” do quite well. However, the idea in life is to learn from your errors and mistakes and work hard at correcting or preventing them. Many errors and mistakes CAN be avoided. It just takes some discipline and determination on everyone’s part to do so,

For instance – you can avoid drinking and driving to avoid tickets, accidents and even going to jail. You can lessen your chances of lung cancer by quitting your smoking habit. You can have more money in your saving account by avoiding buying lottery tickets or pouring money into slot machines at casinos. These are the type of mistakes that CAN be avoided by practicing sound fundamentals.

If you want to avoid common mistakes in execution, you can do so by being more prepared. Plan more, study more, practice more and strive for small incremental improvements in your skill levels daily, weekly and monthly. By doing so, you will make fewer mistakes and errors in judgments, and grow your confidence and self esteem to new highs. This process will enable you to compete at higher levels with higher returns on your time and efforts.

In conclusion, always remember that every day in every way - you will be engaged in “A Game of Mistakes.” Strive to make as few mistakes as humanly possible. Then enjoy the fruits of your efforts!

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