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This is a mistake. Ooops!

For those of you that read the History of Central Africa, you will recall this phrase;

The chameleon gets behind the fly, remains motionless for some time, then he advances very slowly and gently, first putting forward one leg and then another. At last, when well within reach, he darts his tongue and the fly disappears. England is the chameleon and I am that fly.—Lobengula

Lobengula, King of the Matebele, was a South African Ndebele king. His kingdom was the last of the major African states to be destroyed by the colonialists in southern Africa.

I'll spare you the agony of historical mischief and just say this: In October 1888 Lobengula signed what he thought was a limited mineral concession with a group of Cecil Rhodes's business associates. Faced with a simultaneous invasion by British imperial forces from the south, Lobengula burned his capital, Bulawayo, annihilated a column sent to capture him, and disappeared in the direction of the Zambezi River. It is wontedly presumed that he died in late 1893 or early 1894.

When you're wrong admit it; when you're right be quiet. We've all made mistakes, errs, errors, muddled messes, snafus, blunders, screw -ups, bloopers - you name it. Admitting mistakes can very difficult. As in the case of Lobengula once he discovered that he had created a combination of things going extremely wrong in a short period because of his stupidity and ineptitude, he torched the entire city. I can almost hear him yell expletives and swear destruction.

It's not just Lobengula, it’s every landlord’s worst nightmare—a hostile, angry tenant who destroys the property because he or she is mad about eviction proceedings. From smashing windows, tearing up carpet, punching holes in the walls and ripping out appliances, an angry tenant can really cause damage to the rental. How about a slow checkout lane, an inefficient governmental process, or an employee who doesn’t know and doesn’t care. It got me thinking: what makes you angry? When things go from 0 to 60 in an instant, how do you manage?

“When things go from 0 to 60 in an instant, how do you manage?"

It is a well known story. Jesus enters the temple and sees merchants racketeering off the sanctimonious pilgrims. The Bible doesn’t actually say he was angry, but it’s a pretty good assumption given that he fashioned some twine into a whip and started welting the vendors and flipping over their tables. It happened twice. Being set off, it seems is part of our emotions. Anger is an uncontrollable force that takes us over and leads us to do or say things that we wouldn't normally think we were capable of. Holding on to anger however, leads to adverse effects, both physically and emotionally.

From your lousy coach to the Kenyan rugby captain, no one is safe from stuffing up.

Now let's get back into the part where you make mistakes. The great thing about mistakes is that everyone makes them. From your lousy coach to the Kenyan rugby captain, no one is safe from stuffing up. The important thing is learning a lesson and trying to do better next time around. You may think that some people get away with never admitting their mistakes, seemingly skating through life like unrepentant tractor. But psychologists believe even such people tend to accumulate subconscious feelings of guilt and shame, a mental nibbling that eventually can turn into anxiety and depression.

Here is a few embarrasing mistakes that some historical figures made. You're not alone:

  • The Wicked Bible - In 1631, Royal Printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas printed a new edition of the recently translated King James Version of the Bible. While composing the text in preparation for pressing the pages, at one rather critical point the printers omitted the word “not”. The result was several copies of the book appearing in the shops and churches of London with Exodus 20:14 reading “Thou shalt commit adultery”.

  • The 1928 University of California football team included among its players a center named Roy Riegels. He was a talented and smart football player, who became famous nationally for a mistake made in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1929, as the California Bears were playing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Riegels picked up a fumble on the thirty-yard line, and in the act of evading a tackle and another blocker, got turned around, lost his bearings, saw an open field in front of him, and carried the ball sixty-nine yards in the wrong direction.

  • The leaning tower of Pisa - Whoever designed it and began construction in 1173 didn’t live to see it completed. It was 199 years before the structure was finished. During the first phase of construction, the tower began to sink, due to its being provided with an inadequate foundation on unstable soil. Construction was then halted for nearly a century. When construction began again in 1272, floors were deliberately designed to have one side taller than the other, to compensate for the lean of the tower. The tower continues to increase its lean.

You and I can finally agree that I made a mistake in pointing our your mistakes. How about we do this - let's try not to jump to conclusions about your worth or value. No one’s perfect, and that’s okay. As a matter of fact, Carlos Slim Helua a Mexican businessman who is sometimes ranked as the richest man in the world said, “Mistakes are normal and human. Make them small, accept them, correct them, and forget them.”

  1. Next time you make a mistake face it head on. Own what happened and draw a linear line under it. If you keep making excuses for yourself, you’ll probably just prolong this process.

  2. With very few exceptions—like if you’re a pilot (Nancy is that you?), surgeon, or military personnel—making an error at work is not a life-or-death situation, and most mistakes can be resolved or corrected right away. For instance, if you upload the wrong file, think public Wi-Fi is your BFF, use poor spelling or incorrect grammar, believing in internet luck, shopping online while drinking.... You're alive. No one died.

  3. Apogolize. Admitting you messed up may not always feel good, but can show others that we are compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic, and generally good people. However, don't apologize for bad weather during a party you’re hosting. It's beyond your control.

On that note, I have no regrets in publishing this blog.

Mistakes don’t need to define you, especially when you use them as a learning opportunity.


This blog is written for educational and informational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. They author may or may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this blog. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed therein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.

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1 Comment

Cyd Nzyoka
Cyd Nzyoka
Jun 02, 2023

Awesome, enlightening, relatable and full of humorous anecdotes. As for Lobengula’s actions wololo……😱😂💦

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