How to Avoid Major Failure

How to Avoid Major Failure. Click for tips and hacks to help you succeed in life! Wellness and Self Care, Positivity and Inspiration, Motivation and Personal Growth #Selfcare #positivity #inspiration #personalgrowth #lifehacks

Have you ever engaged in a difficult activity and lost focus when distracted by someone much better. Then you failed in a major way? I have. Many times when attempting to fulfill a goal and while ice skating.

Failure happens when we attempt to reach a super tough goal but focus our attention on something else.

It can be as simple as an off-hand glance or a quick comparison. A distraction that causes doubt can result in SPLAT! We hit the frozen lake HARD.

After watching the movie Hans Brinker when I was a kid in Madison, Wisconsin, I wanted to skate just like him. Santa provided the ice skates and Dad drove our family to Lake Wingra.

I was sure I’d glide just like Hans. My mom laced the hooks on my skates in the warming house while some skaters chatted on benches and others clomped past on their sharp blades. Once on the ice, I lost my confidence. My parents pointed out the sharp teeth on the front of my skates. I tentatively pushed ahead.

After a few steps, I looked up as another skater swooshed by. Down I went. I quickly learned that concentrating on my feet was necessary to complete my goal of staying in the upright position. This spared my poor posterior.

Changing my gear

Years later, I tried hockey skates. Seduced by the dark sturdy leather, I asked a friend, Jim Mullen, if I could try them. He and my friends cracked up laughing as I stepped forward and faceplanted on the ice. The toothless blades made pushing off so awkward. After a few quick smackdowns, I switched back to my old skates.

How to avoid crashing and burning

The Winter Olympics

A year later, Jim tried out for the Olympics. He drove to the trials with other skaters like Eric Heiden.

When Jim started his speed skating trial, he flew ahead of the pack. How far ahead, he didn’t know. With the finish line right in front of him, he looked over his shoulder to check. He wiped out and finished last.

Distraction can upend us. It takes us away from what we are doing. We lose focus. Are we progressing toward our goal or are we more concerned with what our competitors are doing? It’s a good question.

skating and falling gif

Negative comparisons

When we compare our progress to others and fall short, it can send us into a self-destructive tailspin. The absolute worst outcome is the loss of hope. We may feel like quitting.

Unrealistic expectations

This can happen when we have unrealistic expectations. We want to be like Hans or The Bloggess or some other person with celebrity status. It’s important and healthy to have goals but comparing ourselves to those who have already made it to the top after tons of hard work is unfair. Lower your expectations.

How do we pick ourselves up again?

By remembering why we started. Reaching our goal might take longer than we expect. Our baby steps have to align with our goals. We might need the help of a mentor or a bullet point journal. But if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, and really concentrate, who knows what we’ll achieve?

Did you notice my skates?

Ice Skating on the Pond

I recorded that gif file a few years ago. Danny read the article and said I had to use it. What a good sport! BTW, I haven’t skated since my knee surgery, but now I have knee pads. Luckily, I didn’t have to use them. 

What do you find the most distracting? Do your goals align with your baby steps? When was the last time you ice skated?

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58 thoughts on “How to Avoid Major Failure

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  1. I’ve ice skated twice….the first time, which was also the last time. I have played sports all my life, mostly ball sports. But anytime you put something between my feet and the ground I become “Spasman – Super Underachiever!” You name it, skiing, surfing, horseback riding, even just swimming. And I won’t even regale you with the tale of my abortive attempt at tobogganing! I think I’ll just stick with pickleball for now, but thanks, I still enjoyed the blog!


  2. Excellent advice, Susie, I have seen that scenario so many times where someone is newly on skates, looks at someone whizzing past and falls down before even taking a step. It’s a perfect analogy for focusing on your own goals!


    1. Thanks, Anneli!
      Avoiding negative comparisons is so important to my confidence and enjoyment of blogging or anything in life. It can be tough sometimes especially if I’m disappointed in some way. That’s the indication that I have to lower my expectations somehow or lengthen my self-ascribed time limit in which to complete a goal. I totally bummed out when I wasn’t published two years ago. I’ve obviously lengthened that time limit. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Getting a traditional publisher has its advantages, but also lots of disadvantages. But I agree with you about keeping focused and having realistic expectations if we want to achieve those goals that make us happy.


  3. Negative criticism pushes me down a lot. But more than that, not acknowledging something which I feel i’d done pretty well also can get me down!! It takes some time then to get back on track.


  4. My best example of that is thinking about a potty stop if I needed one (I have health problems other than depression, in case I’ve never said anything), the guy in front of me stops short–BANG! Ticket, eight hours(!) of online traffic school so they won’t tattle to my insurance company, and my poor car having a red nose for the rest of her life.

    The irony? I was headed toward a psych appointment. To talk about my meds, which are supposed to make me HAPPY! Instead, I got more upset when she decided I needed a mood stabilizer because I cry too much or something. The same mood stabilizer that’s been known to give people a horrible skin disease! YIKES!

    P.S.: I’ve skated before. I did fine when I hung onto the wall, but as soon as my Lifetime Sports teacher insisted on dragging me out into the center of the rink–SPLAT! (I imagine I said, “I’ll stick with the wall for the rest of our mandatory half hour, thanks!”)

    P.P.S.: Have you read my beloved celebs post? (You haven’t asked me for the link to Mystery Man’s clue sheet, which is why I ask.)


    1. Hey Daya!
      That sounds like a terrible day. I’m glad it’s behind you.
      Skating takes time to get the hang of. Back in Wisconsin, it’s what “everyone” did after school.
      I’ll be sure to check out as soon as I have time!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to go skating a couple of times a year in the BC era (before children).
    And I have to say, not focusing on other skaters can be a fatal mistake, too: if you’re focusing just on staying upright, you’re bound to eventually bump into another fellow just-focus-on-yourself-er.


  6. As a Canadian I can safely say the last time I ice skated was 37 years ago. I just walked through my garage last week and slipped and have a fractured knee cap now. I never do what is going to make me fall and hurt myself LOL..Of course that includes walking..


  7. When I’m really focused in, I’m like a laser beam, but when I get interrupted, then it’s hard to get back into the zone. I write best when no one’s around. I cannot focus in a coffee shop, the library (usually), a doctor’s waiting room, anywhere where there is noise. Even music will sometimes distract me if I find myself listening to it. Usually instrumental music with no known lyrics playing softly will be fine.

    I’m finding with my current state of health, combined with full-blown menopause, I cannot focus on anything for very long. Heck, I get distracted cleaning out the dishwasher or folding laundry. Sometimes at the end of the day I’ll find all of these unfinished projects. I never used to be like that. I stayed with one project until it was done then moved on to the next. Not so these days. I’m hoping it’s just a phase.

    I like that you got the knack for ice skating. It looks fun. I’ve never been very good at it. I wobble too much.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. My focus was blown away when cancer struck me too. (Stupid anti-estrogen pills.) But, I have to admit, the last few months, I have been able to write just about anywhere. That said, if I’m in the middle of a sentence and am interrupted, the very next word evaporates. Poof!

      Skating is fun! Colorado weather in the Boulder/Denver area is too moderate for ice to stick around for long. It’s been in the single digits for the last two nights but it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow. When I don’t see animal tracks on the ice, I’m a bit wary. Ha!


  8. Susie, it’s as if you came into my head and wrote this beautiful lesson. Thank you! I’ve been V E R Y distracted lately, and boy am I feeling it.
    As soon as I saw the GIF I thought “is that her husband?” So funny, and a good sport.
    You are rocking those hockey skates! My daughter had the same issue and also rocks her hockey skates … lol!


    1. Hey Lisa! It’s so great to “see” you!

      I hope it gets cold again long enough to skate again. I love my hockey skates! Your daughter took the challenge and WON!

      The distraction thing is deadly for attaining goals. I’m all about my bullet point journal and prioritizing! Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to diddle away a day. Here’s a post that explains how to make a super easy one –
      Great to “see” you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Like The Hook said Susie, I can’t ice skate either. That’s a really big admission for two Canadians. It doesn’t have anything to do with being distracted. I just don’t like to be cold when I land on my butt.

    Distraction is my worse enemy. Usually, I find it in the form of my husband. He is off for 3 months in the winter and tends to be underfoot a lot. Somehow we have always been able work it out but now that we have moved into such a small space it seems impossible. The backs of our chairs tend to continuously smuck into each other when we are both working on something at the same time. I know we will work this out as well, it’s just my latest distraction. I’ll find another to replace it.

    Great post, Susie!


    1. Thanks so much, Michelle!
      Ice skating isn’t for the faint of heart. It looks easy, but man, Danny shows us how we can fall hard!

      I totally relate. I need to focus when creative writing. Maybe there’s a coffee shop or library you could frequent… It’s funny how easily I could be distracted. Then I visited my son in Cali and started frequenting a very loud coffee shop. Somehow, I got used to the loud music and the patrons who came and went. That said, if someone directs a comment to me while writing, it throws me out and the thought evaporates. Poof! Let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. One of the biggest challenges ans distractions I have is that I often struggle with too many ideas. I want to do so much that I can’t accomplish the things I really need to do. I recently bought a planner and schedules out my entire first quarter of blogging, as well as other activities. It’s really help me stay on target, I’ve been a little overambitious but I’m keeping going this year, and avoiding some fo the distractions.


  11. I ice skated only twice. I roller skated quite a bit, but only ice skated the 2 times. First, I just went out there and managed to go 1/2 hour and never fall. I felt like a champ. The second time was when I was taking Karate (shotokan). Our Sensei took us to help us understand and improve our balance. After all, that is, basically, all ice skating is – balance while moving forward. I was amazed at how much better I was. i don’t think I fell this time either, but I did it with quite a bit more grace.
    You do need to stay fixated on your goals. Since my stroke I get distracted very very easily. I have had times when I was doing so well and just a slight distraction comes along and voila it is a week later before I realize I never finished.


    1. Hey, Scott! Great to “see” you!

      I bet Karate tightened up your core too! Contracting stomach muscles can really help. Mine can always use some improvement. Ha!

      The aftereffects of stroke have got to be tough. I’m on a pill to destroy estrogen which makes me spacey. 6 more months!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ll try most things once and ice skating is one of those “once” attempts!
    I have to constantly remind myself to stop comparing and let go of expectation. We rarely make it far by trying to be someone else or worrying about what someone else is doing.


  13. I could never roller skate far less ice skate so I am in awe of anyone who can do any kind of skating, particularly when they have a few tumbles and get up time and again.


    1. The ice is dang hard! I haven’t fallen for a while but remember the bruises back in the day. I guess my determination and denial that it would ever happen again, outweighed the pain. Ha!


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