WOLOSHYN: Finding the silver lining in your ‘best mistakes’

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I like to gamble, not so much that it puts me in a precarious financial situation, but enough to force me to pay attention.

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Most of the time, either way.

One Sunday, after spending about seven hours inhaling NFL football games on television, it was time for the final game and the bet of the night. My team was getting beaten, but I knew in the bottom of my heart (not a good place to go to decide a bet) that they would bounce, so I foolishly doubled them.

Sadly, they sucked in the second half. It was a bummer to watch. I was heading for financial ruin; That was until I realized that I had mistakenly bet on the opposing team, so the mistake had led me to be successful without realizing it.

Hey, things happen, as they say.

I was reminded of this story recently while reading the fascinating book My Best Mistake: Epic Fails and Silver Linings , written by award-winning broadcaster and author Terry O’Reilly.

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It’s a collection of mistakes that led to big hits, serendipity at its finest.

But mistakes sometimes affect people who are not at fault. Take Serge Savard, Hall of Famer for the Montreal Canadiens.

Drafted by the Habs, Savard played only one season with the organization when Sam Pollock, who ran the Canadiens’ farming system, ordered scout Scotty Bowman to release him. Bowman forgot to inform the young player and Savard returned to Montreal. The team reluctantly agreed to hold him until Christmas.

Savard excelled on the ice and became the team’s leading scorer and rookie of the year when Montreal won the Stanley Cup. The following season they repeated as champions and Savard was elected MVP of the playoffs.

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During his 14-year career with the Habs, Savard won eight Stanley Cups, was named team captain and then general manager, and in that role won two additional Cups.

But this was not Montreal’s only Savardian mistake. They also forgot to file his retirement papers when his career with the Habs ended, and he was subsequently picked up by the Winnipeg Jets, where he played for another four seasons.

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O’Reilly’s book also examines how a misprint turned the comic superhero the Incredible Hulk from gray to green, and how the red insulation mistakenly became the iconic Pink Fiberglas.

Mistakes happen to all of us. Sometimes it is a blessing to those who make it and sometimes it is a gift to others.

Actor Clark Gable was the beneficiary of one of Hollywood’s great examples of a wrong choice when his colleague Gary Cooper decided to turn down the lead role in the classic film. gone With the Wind . Cooper even added an insult to his own injury when he was quoted as saying, “I’m glad it’s Clark Gable who falls flat on his face, and not Gary Cooper.”

I wonder if he liked the taste of the crow.

O’Reilly writes in his book: “The fear of failure often stops us.” And he is right. I remember times when I couldn’t muster the courage to take that step because I didn’t want to face defeat. But now I realize that failure and mistakes must occur in one’s life, because without them, victory and success are not only impossible, they are not as satisfying.

So now we go to my next mistake and to the bright side.

Ted Woloshyn’s podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRADIO


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