I woke up unusually early yesterday, and had some time to burn. I sat down to play Chess.
I had a game that I'd basically sewn up, I had the win in hand. Then, I made a mistake. A significant mistake, but I was still in the driver's seat... yet, at that point, I stopped calculating and planning, and I was just moving the pieces around the board. I lost about 10 moves later.
Aggravated as hell, I went to have some breakfast and a coffee, do some light reading, and then fired Chess back up (with some of the aggravation waning).
A couple games in, I had a similar situation. I was up a bishop on the opponent, but made a blunder in a really complicated mess in the middle of the board. I was going to lose my bishop advantage in two moves regardless.
I stopped, took a whole minute, and looked for what I could do about it. Well, it was a no-good set of moves on my part, but I was able to grab another pawn, tempo, and position. Still wholly in the driver's seat just by focusing and not worrying about the mistake.
Even if it had equalized our positions, I still could have borne down instead of broken and given up, and won the game. I did win that one.
Life's like that, isn't it? A lot of times you'll make a mistake or your position will get worse. The question then is, are you going to let the first mistake set off a cascade of them, or are you going to shrug it off, bear down, and keep moving towards what you want?