When it comes to life lessons, the hardest are often the most valuable. I had two conversations yesterday that reminded me of one such lesson I learned years ago and I am pleased to share it with you today.
The principle around which this lesson centers is simple and well-known, but not often heeded: cut your losses. Odds are in life that you will not win every hand. Those who play to win every hand often find themselves sacrificing integrity for expediency or foregoing caution out of ego. They have to win every time and they’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
I know an old card player who advocates the previously described approach. He once told me that if you play to win every hand in cards, you’ll eventually get yourself into trouble. His observation that knowing when to fold was just as important in the long-term as knowing when to hold, and at there was no shame in saying “I’ve done what I can here, any further would be foolish”, provided of course that you have honestly given it your all.
Some hands aren’t worth winning. Some people, for instance, prove themselves unworthy of your generosity over time. To pour good money, time or energy after bad after that line has been crossed is a sign of inefficient management if not poor judgment. As uncomfortable as it may be, when the line is crossed, you must seriously consider severing the connection to prevent further abuse or collateral damage.
Nobody respects a weak leader. If your are weak and in a position of leadership, people will walk all over you in most cases. To be respected, a leader must set the bar, define what is acceptable and what is not and stick to his guns when the going gets tough. Allow too much in the way of abuse of the standards you’ve set and your position as a leader will erode quickly.
This can, of course, be done lovingly, without fear, anger or disrespect. You can be tough without being a jerk, dedicated to an ideal without being a zealot and uncompromising without losing your centering and self-control. It takes work to get to that place, but love has two sides to it in the sense that it can both attract and repel.
Love attracts that which is consistent with its nature and repels that which is in opposition to it. Love is not always warm and fuzzy. Love may manifest as a stern warning, a sharp reprimand or a forceful expulsion, provided of course that you do not lose your centering in love in the process.