How to Avoid Failure in 5 Simple Steps


Imagine walking around all day with a song playing in your head – and no one is playing music nearby.

Well, for some reason, the Universe deemed it necessary to share, and on repeat, the hook from the dance/soul song “Take Your Time.”

The SOS Band’s Billboard Top 100 song peaked on the charts at Number 1 in 1980.  It was a definite hit almost 4 decades ago, and now it was an earworm squirming around my head like a clue from a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Growing up, my mother would always tell me to “take your time; slow down.” She said it so many times that I thought “take your time” meant “slow down.”

I didn’t think that was the message the universe was sending to me, though. If I went any slower, I’d be going backward.

So, I pulled the 12″ record out of the proverbial album crate, put it on for a spin, and listened to the words.  The lead singer crooned for her lover to

“Take your time, do it right”.

She wants him to slow down, stop working so hard, and spend time with her.  It was the “Do it right” part that caught my attention.

“Haste Makes Waste”

Were wise words back in 190 BC.

Let me back up; that’s the shortened version.  Here’s the actual verse from “The Book of Wisdom.”

“There is one that laboureth, and taketh pains and maketh haste, and is so much behind”

And there’s that word again, “Take” as in “Taketh pains.”

I put the song on repeat.  I was determined to solve this mystery of the earworm.

I looked up “take” in the dictionary, and I found it was listed as 2 different parts of speech with 28 different meanings!

But Merriam Webster came through and has a separate section for idioms beginning with “take.”

“Take one’s time” is on the list.taketime


In today’s microwave generation, where there’s an app for that, there’s nothing we can go leisurely about, and that includes our work.   We expect our corporations to solve our problems lickety-split. Our supervisors hoped to find a solution to a decades-old problem before the week’s end.

Put a rush on it is the rallying cry.

The irony is “fast and wrong is still wrong.”  In the end, the corporation spends a lot more money correcting an error than they would have spent if they took the time to get it right the first time.

The “Do it Right” lyrics in the song produced the Aha moment.  The singer pleads:

“We can do it right. Even if it takes all night. We can do it until the early morning light.”

Adolescent ears heard they were going to “do it” all night.

Today, mature ears hear: it takes time and focus on doing anything well.  No one can rush through a project and expect excellence.

One must take the Shamanic approach to the project and become one to achieve the desired results.

From ” A Course in Shamanism

  1. Lose the attachment to the result or outcome. It is not important.
  2. Focus all your attention on the process to become proficient.  The process is the most essential aspect of the project.  Developing your abilities is akin to wishing for and getting more wishes. Once you master the process, it is easy to duplicate.
  3. Honor the process over product.   It was the Lions vs. Da Bears in 2010 – Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson catches a would-be touchdown pass thrown by QB Shaun Hill, but it was overruled by the officials who said Johnson didn’t “complete the process.”  Johnson’s main job, as a wide receiver, is to catch the football.  He did.  But then he dropped it. Officials said it was too soon. That ruling cost the Lions the game. The importance of completing the process remained with me.   The product – a Touch Down was lost due to an incomplete process of catching and then letting go of the football before refs rule a touchdown. Not completing the process in football is known as “The Calvin Johnson Rule.”
  4.  When you become one with the process, the only outcome is to produce excellence. You are what you seek.
  5. Share your knowledge.

And there you have it.  Mystery solved.  There was more to the phrase “Take your time.” It should have read:

“Take your time, slow down and focus on the process  to achieve excellence.”