Unusual Life lessons from Kenny Rogers and 4 inch heels

By Waceke Wambaa

How can something so beautiful be so… painful?

Yes, the 4″ heels are real. In my Podcast, Victory in Mind, Episode 3, I relate the escapades of a wanna-be seriously “looking good moment”… not! By the time the experience was done, these shoes and I were definitely NOT on talking terms.

Since that time, I’ve not worn them in a long minute but if these heels could talk, they would share my questionable decision-making skills made that day I had them on and perambulated all over the place.. ouch!

Decision – making: The good, bad and ugly happened.

How often do we have errors in judgement when at the first, things that we think about, fixate our attention on, sometimes look good on the outside or on the onset and may actually start good or they’re good within a limited context. (Cue the da-da-daaaaaa music!)

Take for example the day I decided my four inch heels which normally would not hurt to the point beyond rational thought were going to be my #1 walking support, over an unreasonable amount of time, on the even and uneven pavements of Boston and Cambridge. Clearly, not a good move exacerbated by a not-so-bright-get-out-of-your-way-grocery-visit.

Why do we do this to ourselves people? We make decisions that we know somewhere in the back of our minds, we will regret and wonder why we did what we did in the first place!

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

You've got to know when to hold 'em. 

How things that we think about, fixate our attention on, how they sometimes look good on the outside or on the onset and they may actually start good or they’re good within a limited context.

I thought I could do it.

Perseverating on a bad idea = double bad idea

Know, when to fold 'em,

When we don’t bother to pay attention to rational thought, the outcome is frequently not a pretty picture. I confess, I did what a lot of us find ourselves doing in the heat of making decisions… I rationally cancelled Rational thought out. Completely. Totally.

I thought wrong.

Quit while you’re still ahead applies to you. It also applies to me.

Know when to walk away 

Instead of walking away, instead of admitting poor decisions are actively being made, we might keep pushing into what we’re doing when we know it isn’t good for us in the first place.

But there is a point when you’ve got to know and say, “Hey, I need to step back and step away from this. It worked for a season, but now is not the time.” I need to know when it’s time to walk away.

I thought I could fake it.

Don’t be afraid to do a Joseph

And know when to run. 

The story is told in the Bible of Joseph running away from Poitphar’s wife who wanted to make him her main course meal while her hubby was out of sight. Joseph didn’t try and reason with the lady… he had already tried and it got him nowhere. Instead, the next time she came for her anticipated meal, he gave Usain Bolt some serious competition by how fast he fled the scene! We could say that this was all because of Potiphar, but ph-lease. Let’s keep it real. Joseph was a young dude who like any human being probably knew staying alone with the lady was eventually not going to be a good idea. So he took the brave way out and run away.

You want to run towards the good decision, you want to run away from the bad decision.

I chose to stay… why?!!!

The time for reckoning will come

You never count your money, When you're sittin' at the table

You are the only one who knows how and when to evaluate some situations. Sometimes, you have to just deal with what you have going on around you. The tension, the friction, the everything. In my case with walking for hours with the 4inch heels, the consequences were painful and real. I was not in a position to assess what was going on until I could stop and check my mess out. I had to push through till the full completion of my not so-clever-idea.

I thought I got my cute on. The pain told me otherwise as I hobbled along.

I knew better than that

There'll be time enough for countin' 

Repercussions, ramifications, incriminations and celebrations all have “_ions” in common. But the tangible experiences are so different! I’d rather be counting my blessings than how many ways I can say “Owwwwwwch. Ou. Ouch, ouch. Ouch.” in any given moment. The time for countin’ means finito.

Not trying that stunt again.

“I told you so”

When the dealin’s done!

No going back. This is where the fruit of the decisions we make rear there pretty or pretty-ugly heads. These outcome of your and my decision-making can be a momentary experience or of the permanent variety.

Thankfully, mine was of the I’m going-to-go-away-variety-only-after-I-repeatedly-let-you-know-how-you-messed-up kind.

There is hope

People, decision-making is seemingly not fun when you are in a place of evaluating unexpected and sometimes expected negative outcomes. But herein lie’s one of the greatest opportunities to strengthen our own internal cheerleading and decision making apparatus occurring upstairs in our brains – see rational thought, and emotions collide and, if given a chance, plus with an added bonus of a healthy dose of wisdom, the outcome to this all is in learning the skills on how to listen to ourselves. That’s self-evaluation. Trusting our judgement for the small things, to help form that strong foundation necessary to face and traverse the bigger, high stakes decisions we face throughout our lives.

Unusual Life lessons from Kenny Rogers and 4 inch heels | Ep 3

Honestly ask Yourself

  • What are you holding on to? What do you need to hold onto?
  • What do you need to fold on? To what do you need to say, okay, I tried this and this didn’t work?
  • Is it time to cut my losses while I still have a chance of doing it painless or as painless as possible?
  • What do I need to walk away from?
  • Do I need to do a Joseph?

Way Forward

  • Learning how to ask ourselves questions: Let’s cast our vision and ask, “The decisions that I’m making right now, how are they going to affect me a year from now five years from now? Be prepared to wait for the answer so you can hear it. Digest it.
  • Be honest with yourself throughout the decision making process. There might be tension, wrestling, discomfort or peace in the process of finding that space of honesty. Examine your responses and be honest with the answers you come up with. You obtain solutions by clearly defining the challenges. No shortcuts.
  • Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know until we take that first step. Once started, it’s a very good idea to re-evaluate that decision before you get in too deep and can’t extricate yourself from it.
  • It’s okay to fail. Bad and unfortunate decisions are part of what it means to be human. We are not perfect neither are we able to control every variable. Cut yourself some slack. Stand up, dust yourself off and keep moving – time unfortunately does not stop to grant us a moment of silence.
  • Celebrate your good decisions! Sometimes the only cheerleader you have is the one who stares back at you in the mirror. Appreciate it all as we learn how to live with victory in mind.


Kenny Rogers. Lyrics to “The Gambler.” The Gambler 1978,

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