When skateboarding legend Greg Lutzka broke his collarbone, it nearly ended his skating career — not because his body was beyond recovery, but his physical injury created overwhelming mental blocks.
Greg was in California wrapping up a film shoot and his routine felt off. In retrospect, it was the small things that were off, like drinking a cup of coffee even though he doesn’t normally drink coffee. He was just trying to get through the last day of shooting, but he wasn’t into the skate. Greg approached the rail to do a kickflip back lip Hollywood High 16 and, in his words, “I just didn’t do what I would normally do.” He approached the rail the wrong way and fell. Greg ended up in the emergency room with a broken collarbone.
Roadblocks to recovery
He couldn’t skate for six weeks. When Greg finally got back on the board, he felt different — scared. His body had recovered from the injury, but the memory of it reminded him that injury was possible. “My mental drive wasn’t there when I jumped on stuff. Basically I knew how to do a back lip on a handrail but I was scared to jump back on that rail.” He had never been seriously injured before, now he saw the real potential for harming himself.
Greg slowly worked up to attempting the trick again. “It took me a long time to get over it,” he said. But every day he got on the board and got a little more of his confidence back. As he kept skating, he realized something that healed his mind: “No matter what you do in life, you’re gonna get hurt, you can walk across the street and get hurt. The more you worry about it, it just puts a mental strain on your body and you end up getting hurt more.”
Greg realized his mind is pivotal in determining his success. He said, “When you have goals and put yourself in a positive mindset, you’re unstoppable.”
Living life on the move
So how does Greg Lutzka live life on the move? Here are a few of Greg’s philosophies for success:
Do what you love
Many skaters ask Greg for his advice on becoming a professional skater. He responds that he didn’t start skating with the motivation of being sponsored. Instead, his motivation was a love for skating. He believes success comes when you’re passionate about what you’re doing and are putting yourself out there to make it happen. In his words, “Focus on doing what you love to do.”
Blame only yourself
Before skating, Greg played hockey, but there was something he didn’t like about it: “If you lost a game you could always blame the goalie or something and I always wanted to be a part of something where if it didn’t happen [it was] my fault. Skateboarding brought that to me, it’s different and you can’t blame your shoes, your board or whatever, it comes down to you, and that’s what made me want to skateboard.”
In other words, once you realize you are the only person who can hold you back, no one else can stop you from succeeding.
Focus on the moment
When asked how he stays motivated, Greg said maintaining focus is pivotal. He explained that there are always pressures pulling you in different directions, but unless you focus on the day, or even just the task at hand, that pressure can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to do everything, Greg says, “Focus on what you’re doing at that moment.”
Greg said the personal habit that contributed most to his success is “enjoying life” — which happens to be most people’s definition of success. It seems like by choosing to enjoy life, Greg will be successful even through the hard things.