No 36. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, September 4, 2015
Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.
— Sophia Loren (1934- ) Italian Actress
Ever made a mistake? Ever feel really stupid about it. Every had someone else make you feel small and insignificant over doing something wrong? I think this has happened to us all at some point in time.
Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.
— Howard W. Newton
How do you handle it? How is your tact? What do you do when someone catches you in a mistake and they say something?
I’m a hothead and I have a quick acerbic mouth. It’s not a good thing and gets me into all kinds of trouble. Just because I can speed read you does not mean I should! I have to think before I speak and always take a deep breath before sharing my opinion.
This I know, I’m going to make mistakes, I just don’t need my big mouth to make things worse. How do I handle mistakes now? Monsignor gave a homily a few years ago. Being a fellow Virgo, he has a quick response and he said he had made a change. When someone came up to him and challenged him, instead of going off, he bowed his head and said “I’m sorry”. He just took another road and had made that a habit in his life.
I have practiced this for a long time now. When I feel attacked, I bow my head and close my mouth, wait and say “I’m sorry”. You cannot imagine how many times this has turned a conflict into a pleasant conversation and has made me many more friends than enemies. I’m not saying that I’m perfect or that I don’t still go off on people, but that negative approach never gets me too far in life.
If you just keep playing, keep believing and have some faith,
something good can happen. — Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner, whose team became only the second in NFL history to win six games after losing the first seven games of the year. December 19, 1998
Perhaps mistakes are ways we check ourselves. Perhaps they protect us from something worse. My great coach, Miss Pat Traymore, always said to me when I got lost driving, “Don’t get upset, you’re being protected from something bad”. I grew to believe in this and now I find that as I am driving, before me a bad accident has happened, and I just missed it. I have been late and have actually seen accidents happen just before me that would have been in had I been on time.
Someone got mad at me once and said “Ok, just don’t ever do that again”. I could not guarantee that and I became so blocked that I could not do my work without fear of doing something wrong. What is the answer? Practice and do your task over and over and over and learn your craft so perfectly that you best work becomes your natural way of doing things.
Practice will make permanent and that perfect practice will make you happy in all areas of your life. Live without fear and do your best with song in your heart. I use to be a high-powered ballroom teacher and I use to get so upset with my students when they made mistakes. Now after these 40 years, when my student makes a mistake, we both start laughing and we have some much fun, instead of conflict, that we have a hug and move on. Yes, I still teach a good lesson, but this is now a fun lesson as well.
Mistakes, yes, we’re all going to make them. We might as well have some fun along the way and try to not make the same old mistakes over and over, but not live in fear at the same time.
Ballroom dancing changes your concept of what a mistake is. Sometimes when you are dancing, you do a step in an unusual way that is brilliant and you end up with a new, exciting variation. When you are competing, you have your game plan and you are ready to take the floor. Oops, there is another couple in the way. You have to pause, change plans, redirect, change your amalgamation, even dance a new pattern to follow the etiquette of floorcraft. Mistakes often take on a whole new life and become something altogether magical and fresh.
Exercise: Find someone in your life that has “made it” and ask them what the hardest trial they have ever experienced. Ask them what they learned from that trial and how they became better. I guess the fact of life is that we never truly stop learning and growing in our lives. I’m so lucky, God willing, I will be able to dance, teach, perform and stay a ballroom dancer for the rest of my life; always growing, learning, making some mistakes, and striving for perfection in my life.
Keep on Dancing!