5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid

February 12, 2014 — 20 Comments

This post is stupid.

Wait!

What I mean, this post is all about how to respond when our words or actions are stupid.

We all do stupid things.

We do things we regret – things we’d like to take back.

We have all said something dumb.  Once we say it, we want to catch our words and stuff them back into our mouths.

We’ve even done something really ugly.  We’d like to go back in time and delete a scene from our life reel.  But it’s not that easy.

If you are a college basketball fan, you may have heard about the stupid words and actions of a Texas Tech fan and an Oklahoma State basketball star.  If you missed it, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State pushed a Texas Tech fan after words were exchanged between the two in the stands at a recent game.

I’m pretty sure, they would both like to take back there words and actions.

I don’t know all the details, but from what I’ve seen both Smart and the fan have responded pretty well since the initial incident of stupidity.

So what can we learn from the Marcus Smart incident?

5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid

  1. Stupid happens.  We all do and say dumb things.  We let our emotions get the best of us.  Stupid will happen to you again at some point.
  2. An apology is the best place to start.  When you do or say something stupid, be an adult.  An adult apologizes.  If you offended someone, you need to apologize.  Here’s the deal with apologies – your apology should be real, and it shouldn’t be full of excuses.  One of the things I like about Marcus Smart’s apology speech is that he did not make excuses.  He could have said, “I apologize, but he called me a ________.”  Everything before the “but” is garbage.  When you apologize, focus on your side of the mistake, and don’t focus on how you were offended.
  3. Take your punishment like a man.  Before the punishment was even determined, Marcus Smart indicated he would accept whatever punishment the NCAA and Oklahoma State gave him.  As it turns out, he was suspended for three games for his role in this incident.  Your stupid action may not get the attention of the NCAA, but it probably has some consequences.  Don’t complain about the consequences.  Deal with it.
  4. Learn to laugh at yourself.  Sometimes you just have to shake your head and chuckle at yourself for your stupid words and actions.  Taking yourself a little less serious is a great way to get through your personal stupidity.
  5. Learn from your stupidity.  If you said something or did something stupid, try not to do it again.  You should have learned your lesson the first time.  Only time will tell if Marcus Smart and the Texas Tech fan learned their lesson.  Hopefully, they did!

How do you respond to your own stupidity?  What additional tips to you have for others who have said or done something stupid?

Jon Stolpe

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • Honestly, this is the first I heard of this. I applaud Marcus Smart for owning up to his part. but there has to be something done about fans who taunt. The TT officials should have taken their fan aside and said, “Enough is enough.” Your analysis is good Jon.

    • Apparently, there may be some discrepancy regarding what the TT fan said; otherwise, it appears he has taken responsibility for his actions as well. We’ll see what happens. I’d love to see both of them meet together to apologize in person and to discuss how they can be better role models in the future.

  • Steve Y

    You kind of alluded to it in points 4 & 5, but we also have to move on. I know at times I tend to ruminate about my actions for awhile and worry about my actions. We just have to move on.

    • Good point, Steve. Moving past our stupidity is important to living life to the fullest.

  • Which time? I’ve responded well and badly.

  • Michael Shaw

    Very well-written. Clear and to-the-point. I agree with with the gentleman below who commented, that one also needs to move on. I make mistakes all the time and could spend my whole life thinking about them, but its not a productive way to live. Do what you can to make amens and then let it go. By the way, the page looks fantastic Jon.

    • Thanks, Michael. It’s a work in progress. I’m excited about some of the things coming down the pike. I’m working on an eBook which I am hoping to release in next month. And I’ve been working on a book project which will take a bit longer.

  • David Stolpe

    I spend a great deal of my days working on helping kids learn to fix their stupid decisions and to apologize for their mistakes. And w while there are rare occasions where I lose my cool with them as I am pretty laid back, it does happen and in those times the way I handle it can make our break my ability to work with that kid both then and in the future. While some adults seem to believe that they should always bee right and kids need to always submit to the will of the adult and authority, I find that kids respect you deeply when they see you are willing to drop the authority of position and age and apologize for damaging the relationship because you lost your cool. When kids feel truly respected not only do they respect you back, but they learn to mimic that kind of respect and stay giving it to the world around them not quid pro quo, but because it is just the right thing to do and they can see the benefit of unconditional respect because it has been modeled for them.

    • I think we are blessed by the example we have had in our own parents and grandparents. They aren’t (or weren’t) perfect, and they’ve done “stupid” things, but they have learned and responded well in the aftermath. Now, it’s our turn with our own kids.

      • David Stolpe

        I lost it today on two of my students, and while they may have had it coming, I don’t believe flipping my lid is the best way to get things accomplished. It is pretty rare that I lost my cool with students, once or twice a year maybe but today was that day. I feel frustrated mostly with myself and did apologize for my reaction while holding the line on the expectations they needed to meet. But owning my escalated response allowed us to move forward on their behaviours and I believe without my apology we would have finished at a deadlock.

        • You (and I) can have a huge impact when we respond well to our own failings.

  • You are right…stupid does happen. I have always been my own harshest critic. I tend to say words to myself that are not healing. I did a Bible study a few years back that really opened my eyes to the words we say, not only to others, but to ourselves. We must speak life. “May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable……”

  • David

    First, I usually get mad at myself but I can’t hang out there too long because it’s counter-productive. Then, if an apology is in order, I rattle off all the excuses in my head – trying to justify myself – so when I do go and apologize there are no “buts” left to be had. I’m getting better at learning to laugh at my own “bone-headedness”, and I’m actually learning to like the taste of my own foot 🙂 but it’s taken me way too many years to get here …

    • Nothing like the taste of your own show leather! 🙂

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  • Si Na

    i didn’t know, did i do wrong or not that i post something a bout teacher …. as a case that i was studies with my teacher, that day i as him a about the power point of his subject, here our communication
    Me : teacher, could you please send me the power point of this subject (….) by email or e-learning .
    T: No, i won’t sent it !!!!
    Me: i just quieted and smile without asked any question or reason.. i thought that he just kidding with me….
    T: Do you know why?
    Me: why T?
    T: because i need all of you read it the book it quite easy to understand than just read it in the slide …. if you just read in the slide, it’ll make you more stupid
    Me; O.O more stupid … okay thank you T, good bye
    I got this communication post on my statue .. all the teacher they commented on that….. they made me feel uncomfortable with that… i feel i did something wrong .. why i post something like that on social, anybody they can see !!!!!!!!!!! so what i can do with this…

    sorry about my English…

    • Many of us post “stupid” things on-line or for others to read. This is one reason we need to think twice before we post.

      If we’ve already made the mistake of hitting send or post on something “stupid,” we can clarify our response in the comments, we can apologize when necessary, and we can try to delete our initial comment (this can be tough though as the damage is probably already done).