Somewhere pretty close to 35 years ago this month, I learned how to ride a bicycle. I’d like to pretend that I remember such a pivotal moment in life like it was yesterday, but obviously that’s not true since I don’t even remember exactly when it happened. (Nor do I remember what I did yesterday.) But here’s what I do remember: my father took me out into the parking lot behind our house. I watched him take the training wheels off my bicycle, and all the while he promised that I wouldn’t fall. He pushed me around so I could get a feel for things, and all the while he promised that he wouldn’t let go. I felt so safe, so protected and loved.
And that’s about when I realized that my father had stopped holding on. I then immediately realized that what I was doing was impossible, so I did what every six-year-old does the first time they ride a bike without training wheels – I fell down, started crying, and swore I’d never ride a bike again.
I learned a lot of things that day. Mostly I learned that my father is a liar and can’t be trusted with important things like child safety. But I also learned that my father wasn’t going to let me cry my way out of going back to a bike with training wheels, and that he was a lot stronger than I was and could pretty much force me to do whatever he wanted. So I learned how to ride a bicycle that day, thanks in part to my own tenacious persistence but primarily because I was afraid my Dad would kill me if I didn’t get up and try again. Thanks, Dad!
And in honor of him, I want to pay it forward. I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish this month, but here are a couple things that should help you get where you want to be.
Find Somebody Who Can Realistically Threaten You With Death, Starvation, Or Homelessness In The Event Of Your Failure!
It worked for me, and I’m sure it can work for you too!
Do Some Research
I’m sorry, did I say ‘research’? Whoops. Research sounds boring. What I meant was, ‘Watch some video tutorials.’ And in case ‘tutorials’ sounds a little too educational, what if you just watch some videos? The entire wealth of human knowledge is a click away, and there are 48 trillion how-to videos that can teach you pretty much anything from banjo playing to computer hacking. Fun fact – I have found that hacking into other people’s bank accounts is much easier while I am playing the banjo. Who knew?
Remember That You’re Smarter Today Than You Were Yesterday
Well, that might not be precisely true. All of us have off-days, and today might be yours. In fact, today you might be barely better than a sea cucumber. But in general, you’ve gotten smarter throughout your entire life. When you were five, you probably couldn’t type or build a house or drive or whatever things you can do now, and that process will continue. As long as you can remember that you’re better now than you were then, you should be less concerned about tackling whatever’s in front of you right now. (Side note: I think it’s awesome that we always know more today than we did yesterday. That means all of us are simultaneously the smartest we’ve ever been, and that we also used to be really, really stupid. I can’t wait until I’m 80 and can say, “Wow, when I was 70 I didn’t know squat.”)
Hope this has inspired some thoughtful laughter, or some laughing thoughtfulness, or really anything but heartburn. And if you ever happen to meet my father and notice that his head is turning purple, do what I always did as a child and run the other direction. Love you, Dad!