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Failure is not an option.

Monday, May 06, 2013

MOSTMOM1 had a great vlog the other day encouraging people to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the little thing: whirly gigs, kicking pine cones, flying paper airplanes etc. Her vlog made me smile, especially the part about kicking a pine cone for over a mile until it disintegrated! I plan to do that next time I go walking!

In an effort to get out and do more, I'm placing myself on a self imposed computer moratorium for the next few days...and will be going outdoors more....right after I finish this blog.....

As my husband says, I'm a Spark Addict. I'm taking a last "hit" before I sign off for a few days...

Outside is just about perfect right now. Nights are cool, with a bit of nip and the days get to about mid 70's. I now live in Northern Ohio after 20+ years of living in the deep south where the skies had a harsh, grating quality to them. They lacked that "Madonna Blue" color that I so love. I took this picture last week on one of my walks. Note the pretty color of the sky:

Outside usually means walking my dogs. They are unabashedly enthusiastic about taking me for "walk abouts" anytime I let them.

This is them in one of their lazier moments. But believe me when I say they are Sparked by the word "walk"!! We should be so enthusiastic about getting outside!

We have a great system of metro parks to walk through and this is some of what I see when I go walking with my doggies...just so you know some of what I'm doing while I'm away:


My flower beds are also in dire need of some pruning and cleaning and general maintenance. I am also a big vermicomposting enthusiast and my worm bin needs some attention. I have to muck out the compost from the winter activity (worms are pretty dormant in the winter, but other bacterial decomposers never rest!) My worms have "woken up" and I need to do some house keeping for them!

I blogged about vermicomposting a while back.

If you are interested in learning more, check out: Worms Eat My Freggies or Vermicomposting 101


But before I put down my "pen" and get to my tasks...I wanted to muse a bit about this idea:

"Failure is not an option"

I used that phrase in my status yesterday because had I chanced upon a bit of the movie "Apollo 13" over the weekend. I've seen the movie about 7 times, so I did not need to watch the whole thing to get me thinking about the mission and it's failure (the men never got to walk on the moon as planned) and it's success...the men on board came home alive against incredible odds.

In 1970, NASA launched the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. On the way there, one of the liquid oxygen tanks exploded, and the other one began leaking.  The space craft had two pretty big problems: Not enough air, and not enough electricity to get the men home. 

Gene Kranz was Flight Director for the mission and is recognized as the driving force behind getting the men on Apollo 13 back to earth safely.

I started musing on Kranz's drive and his directives to the people around him that were key to turning a situation so fraught with danger into a success. The thought flitted through my head that sometimes losing weight and maintaining it seems like taking on some pretty incredible odds too!

And then I back tracked, embarrassed and thought about how insignificant, trivial and petty my frustration with the scale is!

And then I reversed course again and decided to meditate on the lessons of Apollo 13 and the universal wisdom that it offers in terms of getting a job done.

I got to thinking about how those lessons could be applied to any project that we are undertaking, be it something truly monumental and life altering like getting to a healthy weight that you are happy with and staying there or something elementary like cleaning up a garden or getting other chores done that seem to accumulate and niggle at us.

So here goes.....


"Work the problem, people." 

Every problem has a solution, or at least damage that can be managed. The key is to stop worrying, and start working.
The problem has to be defined in terms you can understand. Once you have achieved an understanding of the problem, you can begin to ask and answer:  What elements of the situation are beyond your control? What can you do alone? Where can you get help for those things that you can not do alone? (If you are here at Spark, you know the answer to the last question!)


"I don't care what anything was DESIGNED to do. I care about what it CAN do."  

As NASA's scientists worked to solve the life threatening problems, they broke down systems and used the parts to create new tools and systems that saved the lives of the imperiled astronauts. They had to look at everything from a new perspective and "push the envelope" in ways that no one had ever planned for.
Look at your issues with fresh, questioning eyes. Only then can you really begin to deliberately create a solution.

And always remember that getting to and keeping a healthy weight must be sustainable over time. A long time. The rest of your life....time.


That is a must.

As ADARKARA said in a recent blog: "I was dieting before. I'm not dieting now. I eat what I want. I want to eat to lose weight, so I eat healthy."

Break down the parts that go into the equation (food, water and fitness) and over time create meals and habits and routines that will get you there. And don't forget to address the emotional and motivational elements you need! There are so many resources out there for that. Find the approach that works for you.

How many solutions or skill sets do YOU have access to in your quest to be healthy?

Look around at all the many successful people here at Spark! You have access to at least that many!! Mine their blogs and posts and teams for insights, ask them questions, support and be supported.

And be teachable.

I have had to modify my superpower of stubbornness to be teachable in this quest. Keep the drive. Lose the ego.

And finally....

"Failure is not an option."

Tenacity, resolution, persistence, determination, single-mindedness, perseverance and resilience. To that I would add my "super powers" of obstinacy, stubbornness, mulishness and pigheadedness.

Do not treat failure as a viable option or outcome.

Warning: Because YOU define what success and failure is, you have the opportunity to make it SO easy that nothing really changes, or so difficult that abject misery will be your lot in life.

What constitutes success for you? When are things "good enough" for you?

For Gene Kranz the stakes were high and obvious. America had never lost a man in space. Nothing but getting the men back alive would constitute success.

For us, the terms can be much more wishy washy. Weight charts are nice, but according to weight charts, at 5'8" I should weigh between 122 and 164 lbs.

At 164 lbs, I wore a size 8 which is reasonable....but I am also 45 year old and have not seen 164lbs on the scale since high school. At just north of 200 lbs last time I weighed myself (56 days ago) getting down to 164 seems like a really LONG row to hoe at times.

But, then I tell myself that I have seen people here at Spark do that and more...so I am keeping the bar high.

I know that what I'm doing now in regards to food (tracking), water (drinking lots!) and fitness (working it in and pushing myself), I could do forever. And I have all the time in the world. So if 100 days of focusing on food water and fitness produce even a small loss (I would consider 10 lbs or less to be a small loss) then it is only a matter of time before 10 becomes 20, becomes 30 become 40 lbs lost...and BAM...I'm at my goal.

Failure will not be an option if what I learn to do is sustainable and I view this in terms of the long term and not the short term. Set your own goals for what success means to YOU, not OTHERS & work to achieve that.

That it folks. Another pep talk to myself that hopefully, maybe, might be a pep talk for some other weary weight warrior out there.

So, I will "see" you all later this week. My doggies and the yard and my "to do" list beckons.....

Only 46 days to summer.

Food, fitness and water...on track.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD13886868
    Awesome! and I hope you're Sparking and enjoying life! Thanks for the great post!
    2964 days ago
    Thank you TW! As always magically, or Sparkfully, or TWly, you again hit me right where I needed it the most with your words of inspiration! Yep, I needed that today and right now! Guess that's why I'm reading it today instead of when you posted it.

    Hope your moratorium is proving productive. I know that your Days Until Summer Streak is! You rock! Keep sharing your Spark.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    emoticon I LOVED THIS
    2964 days ago
    WOW - So well said - and what a lot of effort and enthusiasm. So many fine points.

    I might have to read this blog a few times!!
    2964 days ago
    I've got to print this blog! You've got dozens of quotable lines, but the one that sticks in my head is, "my worm bin needs some attention."

    It's all about priorities.
    2965 days ago
    2965 days ago
    Love the enthusiasm. Enjoy your walk, run, playing! emoticon
    2965 days ago
    Very well said!!!!!!
    2965 days ago
    This blog post was such a gift. Talk about inspiration! Hope you're having a blast outside. I'm in southern Michigan, so we're enjoying the same, wonderful weather and "Madonna" blue skies!
    2965 days ago
    Loved your blog, loved where your thoughts went and the way you think about things. I finally started losing weight when it wasn't a 'diet' and am GOING to reach my goal!!!
    It's great to have SP and such wonderful people who encourage and put thoughts 'out there' for all of us to share.

    We will in the course of our journey go through all these ideas you put forward and analyse our thoughts and views on ourselves and others.

    Thanks for sharing this. emoticon
    2966 days ago
    You are so right..it is not an option...
    2966 days ago
    Failure is not option. If I fall down seven times, I'm standing up eight. The only obstacle in my way on this journey has been me and I just keep moving myself out of the way so I can continue.

    Food, water, and moving my body on track. Check!


    2966 days ago
    Awesome blog, wonderful pictures and a perfect attitude! And - bonus - worms too! LOL, I was just looking at the vermicomposter bins this weekend at one of the garden centers and thinking about getting one. I'm reluctant to have a regular compost bin here because a) I just don't need that much for a container garden and b) I can't exactly take it with me when I go. So a worm bin seemed like a good solution.
    2966 days ago
  • CAALAN23
    I absolutely loved this blog. You are one awesome lady (and your doggies are very cute too.)

    Love the paths you walk, very lovely. I wish I had someplace close like that. Dont' get me wrong, I have a lovely neighborhood but a whole lot of (get off my lawn!) Sad when a dog's instinct is to walk the pavement instead of the dirt.

    Anyhoo, have a great relaxing time, I'll miss the blogs and all the awesomeness contained therein. Hopefully you will refuel and bring more awesomeness back with you!
    2966 days ago
  • 68ANNE
    I read the whole thing and absolutely love it! ! !
    Will use many parts and know what 'my' definition of success is!
    2966 days ago
  • LE7_1234
    2966 days ago
    Great blog - lots to think about. Thanks.
    2966 days ago
    Great blog! Thanks for the message!
    2966 days ago
    I enjoyed your Blog.

    God bless!
    2966 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3876543
    Enjoy your moratorium!!

    Love this "Because YOU define what success and failure is, you have the opportunity to make it SO easy that nothing really changes, or so difficult that abject misery will be your lot in life."

    It's really all about our perception1
    2966 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    Absolutely right. Every word.
    2966 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12121677
    Awesome, awesome, awesome. This is what I needed to read today. Thank you!!!

    2966 days ago
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