Om uit te hou of te vou?

Ek sit nou een oggend by die verkeerslig en wag dat dit moet groen word dat ek kan ry. Oor Radio-sonder-Mense trek Kenny Rodgers los met die baie bekende countryliedjie The Gambler: You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…

Volgens my kaartspelervriende het hierdie lied se woorde, of moet ek eerder sê, raad, ikoonstatus onder pokerspelers bereik.  ’n Mens moet glo weet wanneer om maar liewer jou hand neer te sit as om jou uit ’n swak posisie te probeer bluf.

Almal weet teen hierdie tyd al dat ek ’n groot Tom Peters dissipel is, en soos ek gereeld een keer ’n week doen, kyk ek weer wat het TP te sê.  En soos die toeval dit wil hê, het hy presies baie, en in geen onduidelike taal nie, oor die wysheid van dié dobbelaar se raad te sê.

Ek haal hom direk aan en as jy skrikkerig is vir kragwoorde, moenie verder lees nie!

“… it all reminded me of a Very Sensible Saying that I think is pure, unmitigated crap, in fact the World’s Worse Advise: Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.  As I said … pure crap.

Forget “fold ‘em”. Drop it from your vocabulary.  Excise it.  Bury it.  Stomp on its grave. If you care, really care, really really care about what you are pursuing, well, then, pursue-the-hell-out-of-it-untill-hell-freezes-over-and-then-some-and-then-some-more. And may the naysayers roast in hell or freeze in the Artic or bore themselves to death with the sound of their “statistically accurate” advice.

It’s a good fortnight to bring this up.  I’ll bet the farm, my farm, or at least an acre thereof, that less than 1% of the 10,000 athletes in Beijing moved smoothly through their careers.  I’ll bet virtually all had coaches who advised them hang it up, “career-ending” injuries, humiliations heaped upon humiliations, and so on. And on. And yet they persisted. And they’re in Beijing.

My anonymous visiting friend gave me The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company, by David Price. Consider this paragraph:

“One of the curious aspects of Pixar’s story is that each of the leaders was, by conventional standards, a failure at the time he came onto the scene. [Animator-superstar John] Lasseter landed his dream job at Disney out of college — and had just been fired from it. [Tech genius and founding CEO Ed] Catmull had done well-respected work as a graduate student in computer graphics, but had been turned down for a teaching position and ended up in what he felt was a dead-end software development job. Alvy Ray Smith, the company’s co-founder, had checked out of academia, got work at Xerox’s famous Palo Alto Research Center, and then abruptly found himself on the street. [Steve] Jobs had endured humiliation and pain as he was rejected by Apple Computer; overnight he had transformed from boy wonder of Silicon Valley to a roundly ridiculed has been …”

That is, shit happens. And if enough of it happens to you, then, if you are wise, you’ll fold ’em. And God (and I) will love you just as much as if you’d endured — but we won’t read about you in the history books.

Now if you do indeed “endure” — well, we probably won’t read about you either, because the odds indeed are long against you making it to that history book or Beijing. I readily admit that.

But if you really really, really care …

About computer animation. Or rowing. Or the shotput. Or those supercalifragilisticexpialidocious chocolate-chip cookies you bake.  Or haiku. Or better ways to provide a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious customer experience.

If you really really really really really care … then there ain’t no time to fold ’em until your last breath is drawn — and even that’s too soon if you’ve bothered along the way to inflame others about your presumed Quixotic cause.

In the (doubtless not) immortal words of Tom Peters: “There’s a time to hold ’em and a time to keep on holdin’ ’em — if you really really really care.”

Miskien moet ek eerder in die toekoms na Marvin Gaye se ain’t no mountain high enough luister, voor ek my kaarte wil vou?


It is a shameful thing for the soul to faint while the body still perseveres. – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent. – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. – Josh Billings

Many say I am just one to try. I say I am one less to quit. – Diego Marchi

Image: Stuart Miles/

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One Response to Om uit te hou of te vou?

  1. Nina Joubert November, Saturday 19 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Aanhouer wen, of hoe se hulle? Baie interessante artikel. Het nooit geweet daar is so baie sogenaamde “failures” wat groot maatskappye en organisasies begin het nie. Dit wys nou net. Dit kan gedoen word. If they can do it, I can as well.

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