Contributors to this thread:
I find myself often daydreaming about lost opportunities/ missed shots...weather it was a hit branch, blown shot or even not listening to my gut on where to hang a stand and Hana deer walking by where I wanted to be and I was 50 yards away due to laziness... My question is ... is focusing on them instead of the positive stuff a bad thing for the psyche?
Nope. I think it needs pefection. At least as good as you can do. If not for the ones that hurt, you’d not slow down long enough to learn from it. It’s the same in all of life.
It's a character builder Mr. Sugar. As old as you are, I am sure you have a very long list of things that you consider a missed opportunity, or a missed shot. If you often daydream about said mistakes, how do you have time for anything else :)
I try not to worry about it, learn from it and do your best to minimize it happening again.
No. Self flagellation can only improve a person. More pain, more gain.
If you lack the will to administer the beating, post your story here and we will beat you mercilessly!
I don't know if it's bad for the psyche. . . I do believe it can be a powerful motivator though.
I'm a positive person. I believe I'm gonna kill a monster every time I go. The fact that I never ever do doesn't seem to deter me. I'm just kinda stupid that way
When I do think negative, it generally just motivates me to work harder. I don't know how to hunt "smart", so I always just try to hunt hard. Or to hunt every single chance I get.
Yep, we'll be happy to tell you everything you did wrong in every instance! Share them all, Shug!
Seriously, it's healthy to think about mistakes from the past as long as it doesn't become a negative obsession. I still think about one I let go, who I should've married instead of my first wife. Still painfully remember how I blew it on a potential WR muley. Life is a series of "what ifs" and "if onlys".
Success is not near the teacher failure is...... but honestly I can't wait to finally graduate and get outta here......
FWIW...... luck can be a b-i-itch too. Good makes you think you're better than you are..... bad makes you realize how bad you are.... =D
I have a golfing friend...... "a bad day fishing? Well,shucks, the fish aren't biting today.... a bad day of golf..... you're just a poor excuse of a human being....."
I think bowhunting has it's similarities......
I watched an interview of Jack Nicklaus once of him missing crucial putts that could have won tournaments some of them major tournaments. The interviewer showed Nicklaus videos of the missed putts. Nicklaus’ response was he “didn’t remember the putt.”
His response has had an impact on me to not dwell on the past and especially negative aspects. It does not enhance future chances of accomplishment.
I’m pretty much with Buffalo on this one. I analyze what went wrong, make any necessary changes to minimize it from happening again, and move on.
Thanks... here’s my recent screw up.., I went into a spot I never hunted before. Using climbing sticks I wasn’t able to get into the exact tree I wanted(size limitations) I passed a nice buck but knew I needed to be in a different tree for safety reasons. I needed a forked tree with branches to grab onto when standing. Laying in bed all I could think about was moving the stand so at 1 am I went to a few different stands where I had the first 5/6 steps buried nearby. Grabbed 15 or so steps and and at 2 am went in re hung the stand where I wanted. The entire time worrying I was gonna fall and lay there calling for help...lol
I get done a couple hours later and sit till daylight... not long after here comes the buck I’m looking for chasing does. He stops just under 20 yards with some branches but a big enough hole in front of his chest.
The thought of the branches were in my mind as I definitely rushed the shot and took hair off his back. It was possibly the biggest buck I ever missed ( killed bigger) Since then ( first week of December) every deer I killed 1- buck 2-doe I find myself rushing my shot...I know I was somewhat lucky to make the shots I did... again thanks for the input from everyone but Nick :)
I find the things I did wrong the season before motivate me to be better the following year. I had a fantastic 2017, filled 8 archery tags, shot a couple great bucks. Thought I finally had all this stuff figured out and slid into 2018. Well 2018 humbled me quite a bit. Still killed a few critters but the chances I blew are really gnawing at me and pushing me for 2019!
This is an interesting topic. No doubt too much of one or the other can screw a guy. I've got a friend who is not impacted in any way by past failures. He doesn't dwell on his failures or the negatives at all. So much so that he's essentially incapable of learning from them. Being totally oblivious to learning opportunities is a great way to miss opportunities to learn! He'll never learn and he'll keep shooting/wounding animals that are out of his effective range. He'll keep putting in limited time behind his bow in practice too. But... he's as confident as anyone on this board in his shooting abilities! It's totally unfounded, of course, but he's oblivious to that. In spite of these unique short comings, he's a really great guy otherwise (some of you won't believe that, but that's ok).
Learning from failures and negatives is an important part of learning IMO. Some people are too thin skinned to do it though, so they either make excuses or deny most of it so they don't have their fragile little egos dinged in any way. No doubt being positive is important, but being unrealistically optimistic (a whole area of research that is really interesting) or functionally blind to reality isn't.
This here from Wyobull - "I analyze what went wrong, make any necessary changes to minimize it from happening again, and move on."
I only get one tag where I generally hunt and failure is just something you accept when using a stick bow.
Had a client hit a small stick on a 25 yard shot at a 350+ 6x7. When I approached he was sitting on the ground, holding his face in his hands and rocking back and forth.
I said "Look at the bright side." He said "What bright side?" I said "We get to keep hunting."
I like to try and put any failure behind as quickly as possible. If I pondered them too much it's all I'd do.
I don't dwell on my errors, missed opportunities, wrong choices.....I try to learn from them, as they can be a big "teaching moment". My biggest question usually isn't WHAT happened (most of the time that part of it hits you over then head like a hammer), but WHY. You can't change the "what", but you definitely can help use it to prevent another "why".
Ahh... Sugar bear, you just need to outweigh all of the negatives with positives. More hits/more kills, less misses/less heartache. That's much better for your psyche.
It's not so much the negative thoughts themselves ... but how we emphasize them. I've come to realize that some people have a damn good reason for being sensitive to negative emotions. That's not to say they can't get past that, but thinking of negative emotions as a protective thing (like pain) has helped me understand why some people have their sensitivity turned way up.
As far as hunting goes ... bad things can happen, and after they do, it's perfectly natural to be more sensitive about them. After all, you can't ignore that something bad happened and it might happen again. Framing helps -- which is why it's best to talk about your negative emotions with someone who lets you think things through.
Many people never talk about their negative emotions, which is another way to say that they never think about them, since talking and thinking are essentially the same thing. "Let me think this through" is a very useful thing to say.
Shug, in training competitive shooters and certain operator training misses are referred to as non hits because negative thoughts associated with the term miss.
In Gene Wensel ‘s book Hunting Rutting Whitetails he has a section on positive thinking
I knew a girl who played basketball in college. She was a post player and got fouled a lot... so she also shot a lot of free-throws. During a playoff game she made 21 free-throws in a row, but in the final minute of the game she missed 1. After the game a radio announcer interviewed her and brought up the free-throws. Her initial response was that she was sorry she had missed one during a crucial time of the game. She made some sort of comment about being glad it didn't cost them the win. There was a long pause before the announcer could say anything. He finally sputtered out that she had shot 21/22 and her free-throws were the biggest reason they won the game. Her response..."Oh, I only remembered that I missed.". She was an All-American that year. I wonder what drove her to that success?
I focused on one all night long one time. The next day I went back with a pole saw and trimmed that dang limb. I have never sat in that stand since that day, but I felt a lot better after that limb was gone.
Why would you let a negative thought incubate to become a reoccurring reality. Perfect practice makes perfect. I see no room for allowing negative thoughts come into play when someone spends their annual vacation to hunt elk by driving fifteen hundred miles and backpack in three miles to think about missing his perhaps one opportunity to arrow a bull.
We all own our attitudes and there is no benefit whatsoever to looking on the Darkside of things as opposed to the positive
You can choose to be happy and content and satisfied or something else
Mistakes happen, misses happen, but ...... negativity breeds cancer. Decide what caused the "negativity", fix it if you can, if not, move on and be positive .... picture the shot you are going to make and know it will hit the 12 ring.
Being around a person who is obsessed with negativity isn't any fun. Positive people laugh more and truly are a joy to be around.
" I find myself rushing my shot..."
Now you've got target panic to worry about. That should easily replace the other bad things, Sugar.
I have made a lot of mistakes. I don't worry too much about the mistakes if I take corrective action. The worst mistake you can make is to beat yourself up about the mistake then do nothing to make it better next time. My biggest mistake this year was going where the deer were instead of where they are. It took me the whole season to figure out that while I was on the ridge tops the deer were bedded by the road waiting for dark to come out in the fields. It is not quite so simple because the bedding areas happened to be people's dooryards.
Dang, couple of salty dawgs here and a bunch of positive reinforcements!
Had to think about it a bit and actually erased my first reply... Would have been too salty:-)
Best thing you can do is take a break from it and do something else to get a reset. Pretty sure you will be just fine by next season!
Learn from the negative, strive for the positive.
It's August, 2008. I am on a Stones Sheep bowhunt in British Columbia. I trained hard all spring, and early summer....REAL hard. I trained hard physically, and I trained hard mentally.....preparing to embrace the suck, building confidence in my shooting, and creating a positive expectation. If I were lucky enough to tag a ram, it would complete my archery sheep slam. It is the last day of the hunt, and I have already blown two chances during the 10 day hunt. It is about 10AM, and four rams trot past me at 28-30 yards. The legal ram was last. As he came into view, I was right on his front shoulder, figuring that my lead would compensate for the speed of his trot. I released the arrow and watched it hit EXACTLY where I had aimed. I had wounded the ram, and I spent a couple hours beating myself up. My Native American guide suddenly wasn't in too good of a mood, either. Finally, I realized that my arrow was apparently traveling fast enough that no lead was necessary at that distance. OK....lesson learned.
I then began to focus on what I would do if I were to get a second chance. I could feel my positive energy rebuilding.
We followed the spoor of that ram all day, and finally caught up to him about 15-30 minutes before legal hours ended. He was bedded in the most inhospitable spot that you could imagine....and a steep upward angle. We were 66 yards away. The ram was weak, but alert, and looking right at us. I truly believe that he didn't bolt out of there in that instant, because he felt that there was no way in hell that a human could get to where he was, without him having more than enough time to easily escape. So he just laid there, and watched us. We were hunkered down behind a large boulder that hid most of our bodies.
In the instant before my shot, I remembered all of the hours of training, all of the practice, and just how lucky I was to even BE there. I was completely relaxed......and the shot reflected my body language in that moment. The point is this.....you've got to keep your head in the game....just in case you get another chance. If not, you learned a great hunting related lesson.....chalk it up as tuition. If you DO get another chance, you've got to have your head in the right place, if you wish to correct or atone for a previous mistake.
When and if I make my first mistake, I will let you know;-)
Seriously, I only review them long enough to learn what I have to. I try to focus on what I did right to keep that front and center. That's what works for me.
Thoughts are things...keep them positive!
If you believe in the law of attraction...negative thinking attracts negative results. Positive people who visualize a positive outcome will see that outcome. Some people are called lucky and some unlucky. Ever wonder why one is “lucky” ? You attract what you project.
Learn from your mistakes but don't dwell on them.
Although not nearly the same magnitude, I had a very similar experience as Medicinemann on Mule Deer hunt this past season. Worked out, practiced, had everything down pat. Nothing could stop me.
Last day I missed a slam dunk shot on a very nice buck. I didn't go through my shot sequence and rushed the shot. I was very upset with myself. I was hunting with my son, Wyatt, and Steven Ward. Wyatt was glassing a mile away. It was long, silent hike back. Steven said, "Hey, just think about everything you just got to experience. Most people never experience anything like it." I said, "Well at this moment all I can think about is the fact I just blew what I've been working so hard for and it sucks".
We got back to Wyatt and he says, "I've got 5 more buck spotted." Steven looked through the glass, turned to me and said "Let's go!". I didn't even look at the bucks. Soon we were back into a long stalk and I had my head back in the game. Two hours later I put a perfect 40 yard shot on a dandy buck. Focus and move forward.
"I analyze what went wrong, make any necessary changes to minimize it from happening again, and move on." This is the most healthy approach to life.....analysis of what went right, went went wrong and what you can do better in the future. There is a significant difference between pursuing excellence and being fixated on perfection. Excellece fits the quote above, while perfectionism causes sleepless nights, fixation on failure and OCD responses where you fix what isn't broken.
Also keep in mind that bowhunting is supposed to be recreation for most of us. We don't make a living as a guide, shop owner or product designer/manufacturer, so our involvement is intended to provide some joy and relaxation. I've watched "Red Arrow" a few times on the Outdoor Channel and Kip Campbell is a good example of someone who doesn't take himself too seriously and ruin his life worrying about the next trophy animal. If it comes....cool....if it doesn't.....shoot some does or a legal buck and just enjoy the vension and process.
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat. "I'm the greatest hitter in the world," he announced. Then, he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed.
"Strike One!" he yelled. Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. "Strike Two!" he cried out.
The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together. He straightened his cap and said once more, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed. "Strike Three!"
"Wow!" he exclaimed... "I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
I hate to tell you what I have missed,,,, I still beat my head into the wall, on a buck I missed in 2003,,, ha ha...... been a tough late season for me, and missed a nice buck last week,,,,, However,,,,,
2017, the Good Lord, said, you can have some more time to hunt,,,, I never look back, every day out is a blessing,,,, its just hunting,,, and I love it
wish all the best for all of you
Dwelling on the negative isn’t good in my opinion. We all make mistakes, learn from them, adjust and move on. You should learn every season but that’s not a negative use it as a positive towards future hunts. I go into every season and every hunt knowing I’m better than last time and when it all comes together I’ll be ready. As far as shooting too quickly I’ll remain calm and take that extra second before shooting. I’ll have already visualized it working out before the deer is there. I have a mantra while shooting and it’s focused entirely on the act of shot execution not outcome. You slow down and shoot your shot and it will hit where you need.
Of course I analyze my mistakes but I am always way too fixated on the future and all the things I wanna do, work needed and simply the chess game of hunting and planning 365 to ever have time to think about failures.
My wife often brings up negative stuff from the past or child rearing and most of it I don’t even remember anymore. I guess my brain just blocks it out