This asshole poorly planned for Christmas this year and now he looks like an idiot.
It’s me. I’m the asshole who looks like an idiot.
When I’m financially challenged, I do dumb things and my planning is worse than a pregnant homeless woman. My 17-year old daughter told me to get her a book for Christmas this year.
She told her mom that she wanted nothing.
The outcome? I got her two books and her mother got her a treasure trove of goodies, some expensive and some that will put a smile wider than Texas on our child’s face.
Christmas is still a few days away, so there’s still time for me to pick up a few more items. It’s not that I’m in competition with her mom, but the double mistakes that I made have weighed heavily on my mind since I found out what her mom got her.
First, I made the enormous mistake of not starting my Christmas shopping months ago, when I was in a decidedly better position to do it well.
Second, I took my daughter almost literally at her request for a book. Her mother on the other hand is far wiser than I at just reading between the lines and going crazy with the gift giving. Or, she’s just far more instinctive as a mom than I as a dad have ever been.
If you have had any experiences that deserve a do-over, I have a solution:
Seek revenge on your own mediocrity.
A Little Backstory
This annoying habit of mine could’ve been avoided after a similar situation years ago with my mom’s birthday. Back in 2013, I was in a similar financial bind and was unable to get her a gift.
My cousin gave her $50 for her birthday, which made her very happy. That act of awesomeness made me feel pathetic. I vowed to make amends on her next birthday in a big way.
A full year later, I showed up at her birthday party. She had money pinned to her shirt as is tradition in the black community and I looked and saw fives, tens and a few singles.
I proceeded to pin a single dollar on her and wished her a happy birthday. Predictably, there were groans from a few in attendance. My mom was gracious in accepting the dollar, but I could tell that she expected more.
Maybe 10 minutes later, I walked up to her again to pin money on her, pretending that I hadn’t already done it. This time, I pulled out a crisp $100 dollar bill and pinned it to her shirt, much to her shock and delight.
Another 10 minutes after that and I did the same exact thing — a second $100 dollar bill. Of course, this sent the attendees into a frenzy of awe, some jealousy and a bit of interrogation.
I held on to that dreadful memory from the previous year intensely and the very fact that I took revenge on my own mediocrity was gratifying.
A Permanent Shift in Strategy
Obviously, getting myself on track by the end of 2014 was short lived, otherwise this latest debacle would be non-existent. I have always had a humiliating habit of learning key lessons later than other folks, but I now have a permanent shift in my strategy.
No matter what other nondescript gifts I manage to scrape together in the next few days, this has already been an embarrassment for myself. I can make a list a mile long of things I could have done differently this year to ensure a much better collection of gifts from me.
The example that I gave about my mom’s birthday party is a prime example of the strategy that you can and should use to achieve anything that you feel as though you’ve failed at so far.
I’ve already committed to having my primary Christmas shopping completed by the end of August 2021 for next year, and beyond. That will give me the entire year leading up to August to lock in on that goal.
That is so damn powerful. With all of the struggles that I went through in the first half of 2014, I never lost sight of what my mission was. I knew that my mom’s birthday was a week after Christmas so I had a nice long runway to ramp up momentum.
That’s what you need to do.
Your Next Steps
Even if it’s not a money issue for you, use your own mediocrity, laziness, limiting beliefs or indecisiveness of the past or present to declare war and revenge on those things that you’re dissatisfied with.
Keep that vision and mission in your mind constantly. Write that shit down if it helps. I didn’t need to do that back then because I was just pissed off enough at myself for not showing up better at Mom’s 2013 birthday party.
If you do this properly, with the right amount of annoyance or anger at your thing (mediocrity, laziness etc.), your own mind will be blown at how much you obliterate that specific thing and achieve your vision by completing the mission.
You will be hearing from me on this topic in about a year or so.