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« Fortune Cookie Wisdom | Main | How to Change the World »

January 31, 2013



Today at a team meeting of my company colleagues, an American employee was asked in a friendly ice-breaker, which team he would be supporting at the super bowl this year? The employee politely responded, "I don't really follow hockey tournaments." The teleconference phone lines went totally silent in complete disbelief and shock about his faux pas...until the employee admitted 'that was a joke!' and everyone broke down into hilarious laughter. Such is the American fascination with professional sports, isn't it? :-)

Now, here's a famous Zen story I once heard about not letting the past encumber us (to paraphrase from Robert Noyce, who will be profiled soon in an upcoming documentary on public television in USA):

"Two monks were traveling together, an older monk and a younger monk. They noticed a young woman at the edge of a stream, afraid to cross. The older monk picked her up, carried her across the stream and put her down safely on the other side. The younger monk was astonished, but he didn't say anything until their journey was over. "Why did you carry that woman across the stream? Monks aren't supposed to touch any member of the opposite sex." said the younger monk. The older monk replied "I left her at the edge of the river, are you still carrying her?"

In my case, one of the benefits of having a poor memory for past details, is that I can pick myself up after mistakes and getting back to work without accumulating too much fear or remorse. On the other hand, I think the human spirit knows no more effective method of learning than to make mistakes, so these should also be celebrated as agents of self-improvement. The mantra of my family when I was growing up was always this lyrical slogan, "If at first you don't succeed, try-try again." It sticks with me even now, and is in the process of being passed down to the next generation of cousins.

Mark Dennen

MicroCEO's remarks about getting back to work reminds me of a story about how to manage.

A Priest meets a stranger who claims he is God. The Priest doesn't believe him. So God says, "Then ask me any question for proof." The Priest says, "Do you remember I went to Confession last week?" And God answers, "I do." And the Priest then asks, "What did I confess?" And God answers, "I don't know, I forgot." And there is the point, we all make mistakes, we discuss them and then move on and healing occurs. We don't keep reliving the past mistake time and time again like an unforgiving Mother-in-law.

Kevin Wells

In a Rock and roll compliment of Mark's post, "You can't change the past, so why let it haunt you, you can paint the future, but first you have to want to " Pat Benatar


Once again easier said than done. If your mistake or what you sincerely believe was a mistake or even the second guessing of a decision made or words spoken- is not easy to discuss and move on- if it has affected some one else-to any extent.Learn from your mistakes- absolutely- but don't delude yourself into thinking that only the M-in-law can be unforgiving.
Switching gears to the Super bowl- I don't follow football. But I watch Superbowl- so that i am not left out of the Monday meeting openers :) My team won. As usual I was rooting for the underdog. I admire the 49ers tenacity, hard work and achievements, and yes they probably deserve to go down in history for most championships- But they are also human. So what I am waiting to find out is - will they be just as graceful after this second loss? And the Ravens- Will they be graceful about their win? What if the outcome had been different? How long would it have taken for them to blame the power loss? Point to Ponder?

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