“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”
– Sophia Loren(1934- ) Italian Actress
Watching the World Ballroom and Latin Championship Finals is just like watching a fantastic show by six couples. They have danced many, many rounds to get to the finals and they have competed with the other top couples from each participating nation from around the globe. Yes, they are the best of the best. At this point, they are not trying to compete as much as they are putting on the most exciting dance show you have ever witnessed.
They are all flawless and you cannot imagine that the judges have to place them from 6th to 1st, but place them they must. It’s amazing that watching the final top six couples in the world, you can pick out the first place and the 6th place couples as the first place couple shines on the dance floor. If this is a smooth final, they are constantly adjusting their choreography in order to have perfect floor craft, and they are very respectful each other on the dance floor.
If this is a Rhythm competition, each dancer is very careful to not hit, kick, or knock down another couple while dancing. Arms and legs are flying across the dance floor, but, hopefully, no one is getting smacked in the face or kicked in the shins.
Do mistakes happen? The answer lies in a deep secret of all top champion dance couples. Yes, they do make mistakes, but they do not show the them. Their faces never let on that there was a missed turn, a lost hand flick, a forgotten step, or even a collision with another couple. Decorum is the better part of valor on the dance floor. Dancers learn to “save face” and not let mistakes show. I once saw the US Champion’s lady have her big toe nail torn off in a rehearsal accident, and she then went on the next evening to again defend and win the US title. Only a handful of us knew how she was really feeling. She truly deserved the Championship and she never showed the pain in her foot.
“True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.”
– Lord Halifax (Edward Wood)
(1881-1959) British Foreign Secretary
Having humbly met many dance legends, I have found that they are truly gracious and elegant people. You get a feeling of being in the presence of humble people, even through they might be the current or former world champions. If they are current, they have an air of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to dance, and if they are past champions, you find that they are humbled by the work they put in, the success they experienced, and the adulation that they will receive for the rest of their lives. Although that river of merit runs through their lives, it is a quiet noise.
“Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman or lady.”
– Thomas Henry Huxley
(1825-1895) British Scientist
Once I was ushering for mass and was looking for a very important billionaire. I was saving a full row for him and his family and friends at the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. When this lovely gentlemen came up to me and said hello, he told me who he was and I was so embarrassed that I did not recognize him and greet him by name. I said I was so sorry and that I would be happy to seat him and his family and guests. To my astonishment he put his hand on my shoulder and he said to me, “I am nothing. Everything I have has been given to me though God’s grace in my life. I should be thanking you for serving at this mass and volunteering your time and for helping me and my family.” I had tears in my eyes. The humility I felt from this great, generous and successful man overwhelmed me. He is and will always be a great man to me.
All the heroes in my life are truly generous, modest and gracious. They all have the same spirit of giving service to others. They are my family, my kin, my blood brothers and sisters through giving spirit to help others always. I have met strangers who instantly felt like I had known them all my life, just from that spirit of service that showed through all their words and actions. I’m so blessed to know so many heroes and I hope to be a hero to others in my life and share the passion of service with others.
“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.”
– Dean Rusk
(1909-1994) American Secretary of State
This is an exercise for you and for me. Rather than thinking about our mistakes in life, take a moment with someone and truly listen to them. Let them tell you about their lives. Let them pour out their heart to you. Listen to them and slowly persuade them in the ways of service as they see the joy and freedom that comes through that lifestyle. My good friend, Roz DeBeve always said to me, “God had perfect mathematics when He gave us two years and one mouth.” She asked me to listen twice as much as I spoke, and she said I would then be a great success in life.
Don’t be afraid of mistakes, they are truly the dues we pay to grow and serve in our lives.
Thanks for reading!
David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
FB: David Earl Woodbury