Morning Thought 0008 – Setting yourself up for guaranteed failure.

I’ve done it before and as sure as the sun sets in the West, I did it again……and I’ll more than likely do it again in the not so distant future. Last year I set myself for a major failure, which you can read about here on my Moto Site The SBMoto: Great Expectations, Painful Realizations. Sure enough just this past evening, I found myself doing the same. Thankfully, it was in a situation that was far less costly, painful, and consequential.

Recently I’ve found myself getting sucked into the world of fabrics, sewing, and what have you. My first projects were to just take some fabric and have some fun. I followed this up with a fanny pack, which utilized following a companies pattern, modest directions, and a lot of youtube how-to’s to understand what was going on. While this project ended up with modest results, it wasn’t without its fair share of…..character. With completing this project, I set about for tackling another (seemingly simple) project of replacing a zipper on a jacket.

Late last year the zipper on my Duluth coat exploded in a blaze of fury, so I figured for the 10$ YKK Vislon zipper, it’d be worth the gamble to see how things panned out. Unfortunately my setup for failure in this project started even before I had begun the fanny pack project noted earlier. While waiting for the zipper, and other fabrics to arrive, I decided I’d start breaking down the jacket to remove the original zipper. At this point, things unknowingly began to unravel (sewing puns intended). I’d ripped some of the original fabric while popping out some of the original stitching. At the time, I figured well, I’ll just kinda patch over it, or pile on some extra threads or whatever. Fast forward to last night and there I sat pinning in a new zipper to a somewhat thrashed jacket.

The uphill battle had begun with little failures stacking against myself. First as noted, the ripping of fabric, then sewing unknown (untested) fabric and thread, not having zipper feet, and then having a bit of excess confidence from my fanny pack project. All these little bumps in the track piled up against me in an epic fashion, resulting in……well I’ll just say a pile of fabric to use as scrap testing. At this point, I would imagine Robert Pirsig (Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance) would suggest I’ve fallen into a doozy of a Gumption Trap.

Upon initial reflection, I could easily find myself being defeated in the situation, falling into a demotivational spiral. However I know that this is counterproductive to just about anything in life. Sure, I am OK with being upset with the outcome, but I know I need to use that outcome as a learning experience. Now I can simply look back and understand that I did this wrong, or rushed here, and didn’t do enough prep. Whatever it may be, I can analyze it (no, not over-analyze) it, and then in theory insure that the next project I tackle will have some greater level of success.

Which all this is to say that Failure is not only OK, but it should be expected. In everything in life, there will be some setbacks. It’s how I choose now to deal with those failures and setbacks which more or less pre-define how I’ll either succeed or fail again in the future.

Take it from me….or don’t. But hey, after over 17 years of skateboarding, I found myself still learning new tricks…..despite the countless hours of failure involved.

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