By Charles Olafare
You’ve heard of “eating a frog”, now try taking an L
I’ve got a group of drinking buddies and we call ourselves the “Taddyheads”, a reference to our shared love of the cheap lager served in Sam Smith’s chain pubs. We’re all very close, speak every day and have a bit of a shared language.
We shout the words “poppa” or “MOMMA” when we’re really excited about something. When we’re drunk, we’re “pished”. Rare sober periods we refer to as being “off the pints.” Good things are “excoriating”. Bad things are for “weedos”. To outsiders it’s probably a “load of old toot” but like kids, funny words and phrases never fail to make us laugh.
New phrases and terms pop into existence all the time and it’s quite hard to keep up with.
A recent one that’s stuck around for a while is “Take the L, bro”. It’s as much a philosophy as it is anything else.
To take the L is to take a loss. To lose. To fail at something and humbly accept the repercussions.
Taking the L takes skill. Like apples, you should probably be taking at least one a day. Grab it with both hands, bite into it hungrily and messily then discard the core.
I’ve taken plenty of Ls since coming to SCA. I’m trying to see each one as a learning experience. The brief that didn’t get written when it should have. The piece of work that didn’t go down the way you’d like it to have. Conversations by the kitchen that awkwardly fall flat. Questions asked during masterclasses that get a laugh…but weren’t ever supposed to be funny. I’m grateful for these Ls, better for them.
They all lead to a thicker skin. A sense of self that perpetual winners aren’t always accustomed to. They give you something to reflect on, foundations to build on, things to improve.
The quest for perfection is a road towards paralysis. Paths not taken, risks avoided, opportunities missed. Boredom. Its a recipe for arrogance, self satisfaction, smugness and seriousness.
It’s not all about losing, though. In fact, the Ls make the wins that much sweeter, more frequent even. Take an L by 9am and you’re pretty much guaranteed a win by lunch. It’s just the way the world works.
Don’t mistake the act of L taking for a lack of effort or zeal. True Ls can only be taken with gusto. They’re what happens when you throw yourself into something and put yourself out there. When you try something that sounds wrong but feels right.