Stains and Mistakes

Mistakes are like stains. Here’s a classic scenario: when you get a stain on your favourite shirt. You don’t just throw it out. You’re annoyed, and often you don’t put dishwasher liquid on it straight away, you use a bit of water, spit, salt or whatever is handy at the table with everyone’s eyes on you (and plenty of well-meant advice).

Then the next morning you either 1) deny and pretend it didn’t happen, 2) get going with Vanish or whatever highly advertised stain remover brands are sold where you live or 3) you google stain removal, doubling down as you try to remember if it was red wine, gravy or oil-based. You may even alternate between all the three steps above.

When it comes to stains, you can’t really take the conflict-avoidant approach of backing both sides. A decision is needed right now: are you on team red wine or team oily dressing?

Mistakes are like stains. We rarely go straight to admitting (and dealing with) the issue at hand. We sleep on it. Ponder different approaches. Mix it up with denial. Google or ask a friend. Leave it for a few more days, weeks, months, years.

The key is really to get to the outcome we want. To try new methods and repeat those working. And to not wait for too long.

My longest stain removal process was a Christmas tablecloth. A Danish Design one. Years of denying, applying different approaches, pretending that the dark red pile in the corner of the laundry table was meant to be a permanent installation, not a Christmas aftermath to be dealt with.

I ended up delegating. I probably should have done that the morning after. Admittedly, I needed expert advice.

We can’t avoid them. Mistakes and stains.

What matters is how we deal with them. This week’s suggestion: sooner rather than later.

Next Christmas we may just skip the Designer tablecloth?? And not wear that white dress for the party? Planned avoidance. Minimising risk. Like living life while avoiding making mistakes.

I think I’ll double down instead and go all in; stains, mistakes and all.