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“No daddy, Nooooo!!!”


Our eldest daughter couldn’t help but shout ‘nooooo’ when I was about to put 52 hard-gained marbles back into the original vase. Which meant I had to start over again, from scratch. (see below) 

What happened?  I missed a workout.  

Not only that, I missed it when it was well within my ability to avoid making that mistake. The ‘ah, you’re fine – you still have time’ voice in my head got the better of me.  

Although that’s not entirely correct.  

The more honest version is that I allowed it to get the better of me. 

If by now you’re thinking: Marbles? 52 of them? What? 


I’m Karl Raats, a Flemish/English speaker on ownership, collaboration and engagement, doing the ‘don’t lose your marbles’ challenge. The rule is simple: for every day I stay true to three cornerstone habits, I get to move one marble from the vase with 500 marbles to the other one.

If I miss a single habit one single time, all shifted marbles go back into the original vase, and I get start from scratch. Until all 500 marbles have changed vases. 

I’d rather start from scratch than continue lying to you and myself 

Which happened for the first time after 52 days.

And I’ll admit, before putting the marbles back, there was a moment I thought:  

So I missed a workout. Who would ever find out?  No one but me.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?  I know. I can’t hide that from myself.  So I decided I’d rather start from scratch than continue lying to you and myself for 448 days straight to reach the 500-day mark. 

If I had done that, I would have missed the point of this challenge entirely. 

At first, I thought I would be soooo disappointed with myself, having to start all over again. But the second I poured the marbles back, I realised: That’s not true. I don’t have to start all over again. 


The 52 days of working out, writing my bullet journal and doing the intermittent fasting regime didn’t disappear as if they never happened. I’m still reaping the benefits of doing them, of showing up.   

And secondly, I learned something. Knowing that ‘consistency’ is my main challenge here, this time around, I noticed how I talked myself into this situation. I noticed the narrative that nudged me off course. Which, I suspect, is going to be helpful along the way. 

So, what has become clear to me since the last time we spoke (to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson)? 

When losing your marbles, you have a choice : 

  • Cry over spilled milk under the bridge 

  • Realize you lost nothing. You gained an insight. Something to equip you for things to come. 

Stumbling forward, 



Karl Raats (Antwerpen °1971) is keynote spreker en veelzijdig dagvoorzitter.

Zijn interactieve lezingen, inspirerende workshops en werkvormen op maat stimuleren collega's tot slimmer samenwerken, teams om eigenaarschap te nemen en leidinggevenden om medewerkersbetrokkenheid te bevorderen.

Hij is tevens auteur van de Ja Cheque®, de enige cadeaubon ter wereld waarmee je iemands grootste droom cadeau doet.

Karl op jouw event? Neem tijdig contact op om teleurstellingen te voorkomen.



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