Once a Loser! Now a Dozer!

Once a Loser! Now a Dozer! By Daniel ElfersIt’s easy to think of ourselves as losers. It’s easy to cut ourselves down and tell ourselves we can’t do it, and the more we tell ourselves this the more others treat us this way. Sometimes not intentionally they do it. Like we’re less than adequate. And maybe in some ways we are, but if we face our fears and apply ourselves and choose to believe we are capable of learning these things, what can stop us from doing it! In my refabricated word being a “dozer!” Meaning somebody who simply does and in so doing pushes through failures to accomplish the task at hand.

It’s been a concept on my mind lately. It’s all about mindset, perspective and confidence within ourselves. It’s a trick I’ve realized in the past, but have been learning to apply and develop recently into aspects I’d not previously applied for sake of fear or internal misgivings. The trick is when you fail or somebody rejects you or hurts you instead of cutting yourself down or assuming you can’t, you instead build yourself up again by trying again or reinforcing your mindset to learn and grow. By taking a failure and learning from it so we can learn to overcome our own self-destructive attitudes.

Check out this Ted Talk that talks about Emotional Hygiene. I seriously enjoyed it, and it left me with a lot of wonderfully deep thoughts to process over (and over, and over, and over) the past several weeks…

I had a teacher in a marketing class once tell me “Fail often to succeed sooner.” It was a brand new concept to me. Up until then I’d let myself believe that failure was not an option. It opened up the freedom to fail because when we fail we learn. That was years ago and I’ve successfully applied this concept to things I was then passionate about, but somehow I have continued to let myself believe I suck at other things instead of trying again. Though seeing some success I found myself still feeling like a loser, because I let myself believe I’d never be good at these certain things.

My dad in his natural environment.

So jump to this past weekend. I had a bad part in my truck, and I had to go home to my parents house to fix it. My Dad, an amazing man, a great mechanic and wonderful father, who took time out of his schedule to help me make repairs. As usually he’s the expert in my eyes and I could have told myself I’m not, cause I lack the experience, and so why bother trying, and then just let him do for me what I believed I couldn’t.

But I’ve been through this before. Not this exact repair, but I’ve grown up around cars and trucks and motorcycles and boats and airplanes. Compare me to somebody else who hasn’t been around them I am kind of an expert. So I had to set my mindset to realize that I could do a great deal. He’s still much more experienced, but because of him so am I by now. If I acted like I couldn’t because of an internal lie then of course again I’d get treated like I couldn’t. Then he’d do all the hard work, and I’d just give up.

In some awesome work gear!

So I applied myself with a better perspective. I jumped in and did. I made it fun for me with some crazy work gear. I didn’t have to wear the silly overalls, but I did it cause it’s who I am and I thought it would be fun. So I jumped straight into the action and doing it with a more excited, goofy, and picture taking mindset I turned what would have been 8 hours of mechanical struggle into a wonderful day with my father and my little brother! Another concept, not the main point, but we shouldn’t compromise ourselves, our energy or personality to succeed. We can’t give into lies that we have to be somebody we aren’t. If we allow ourselves our unique personality and flavor we allow ourselves to beat back this internal lies with internal truth.

So story time! This was no small project. We had to remove pretty much the whole bottom of my truck in order to replace a part no larger than my left shoe, but we did. They left me to it while they went to go get a transmission jack elsewhere. Leaving me to remove the drive shaft myself. And honestly I wasn’t sure I could get those bolts off. With about a foot of space to squeeze myself under the truck I cranked and cranked. At one point the ratchet slipped from my hand and I slammed my elbow on a corner of metal leaving a bruise that’s still throbbing several days later. So I was off to a great start in my “do it” attitude (sarcasm). I was in pain, and frustrated, and I couldn’t even get the bolts to budge. “Impossible” I started to think, “If I could just get them loose.” I continued trying with no luck.

So here came my moment! I could have given up. I could have stopped and waited for my dad, but I took that moment, stopped and thought it through, and decided to try something different. I latched the ratchet onto the bolt. I turned myself around grabbing the metalic underside of my truck and pressed that ratchet with my foot. I pressed it right through the heel and I got that stubborn bolt loose. Next one, I did it again. Again and after moving the truck to reach the last I had all four bolts removed. Then a few hammer strikes and off came the drive shaft. Only the following picture can express my excitement at getting that off.

Excited to have removed the drive shaft!

I could have given up. I could have just said I can’t do it, but I decided to do it anyway and I found a way. It set the tone for the day. The rest of the work was similar in challenges, but with a whole new outlook. My dad and brother jumped in at this point to help, and the three of us just worked. One thing to the next. We all had a few moments we pulled the wrong screw or missed something, but instead of letting that get us down, we simply fixed and moved on. I now knew that I could do. More than that I enjoyed it because I change my perspective from being a failure to failing to succeed and knowing if I try I will find a way. And I did find a way at something that I’d considered myself in the past bad at.

The new part installed and bad part removed.

If I don’t do and learn to do for myself (with help along the way) I will always be a loser, because I fail to try again until I get it right. Failure is a constant if you do not try. I’d rather live successfully and unafraid to fail often in order to succeed. I want to be a rolemodel of an imperfect person who succeeds because he accepts imperfection with the ability to learn and grow and never being afraid to admit a mistake and try again.

So apply this to every other part of life? What obstacles do you face that you’ve just given up? What obstacles have you put in your way? Addictions? Relationships? Education? Why can’t we beat addictions? Why can’t we make real friends? Why can’t we do well in school or at work? I believe it’s because we tell ourselves we can’t. We make one mistake. We get yelled at. We get rejected or hurt by people we thought were our friends. We seclude ourselves from others. We tell ourselves we’re ugly, stupid, weak. What if I told you that you are none of these things? You only think you are! Get up and try. Get up and fail. Get up and find a way. Get up and do! Because you are not a loser! It’s time to be a Dozer!

Ford Ranger TransmissionNew Ford Ranger Clutch CylinderMy mission accomplished shot.
Mission Accomplished!

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