Here’s Another Superpower You Need

Rod Pickett
2 min readApr 8, 2024

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Sam Walton

The ball was floating right to me.

One of my biggest weaknesses on the pickleball court was rushing the kill shot.

This time I was going to take my time and smoothly drive the ball over the net, winning the point.

As the ball approached at the perfect height, I calmly raised my paddle.

It was perfect, with one exception.

The paddle was now blocking my view of the ball.

Channeling my inner pinball wizard, I intuitively calculated the speed and trajectory of the ball.

And I executed a smooth putaway.

The timing was perfect.

Precisely as I drove the paddle forward, the ball avoided the paddle and hit me square on the tip of my nose.

“Are you okay? Are you okay?”

It stung, and my eyes watered. But I wasn’t injured.

To my surprise, I wasn’t even embarrassed, not much anyway.

I learned a valuable lesson that day.

Don’t put your paddle right in front of your face obscuring your view of the ball and the court.

They don’t teach you that stuff.

Probably because they assume that if you can tie your own shoes, then you are smart enough not to put a large opaque object right in front of your eyes.

I am now.

But I reinforced an even more important truth: dying of embarrassment is only a metaphor.

I’ve never come across an obituary that mentions the cause of death as mismatched socks.

Embarrassment happens only in our heads.

We are in control of whether we are embarrassed.

There are two ways to avoid embarrassment.

One way is to be perfect and never make a mistake.

The other way is to let go of our catagelophobia, the fear of ridicule.

The second strategy may seem hard, but the first one is impossible.

What causes embarrassment?

We feel embarrassed when our actions do not align with our desired self-image.

In other words, we worry about what others think about us.

The advanced level is when we worry about what we think others think about what we think about ourselves.

If we work at getting embarrassed, we can even start getting embarrassed for others.

We may think that embarrassment serves a social purpose.

But whatever benefits it may have are far outweighed by the damage it does to us.

The solution to the fear of embarrassment is to intentionally seek out potentially embarrassing situations.

Embrace the embarrassment, and it will grow weaker and weaker.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook, an Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance. Get your copy today.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.