Life Is Like Learning To Ride A Bike - Part 2

In my last post about bike riding, I talked about when you are first learning to ride a bike you have to figure out how to go in a straight line. As we progressed in our bike riding proficiency we realize that going straight is important, but just the start. Once you learn how to maintain balance and keep it straight, you have a whole new set of challenges. Those challenges and how to deal with them contain more lessons for us.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to stop. I swear every kid I've ever known, no matter how many times you tell them how to stop their bike, when they start going where they don't want to the feet go down. Pedals get tangled with feet, falls happen, things escalate quickly. You have to learn how to break safely, when you get into a situation that isn't safe you need to slow down or stop. If you don't know how to break things can get very dangerous. In life we have to learn to recognize when we need to slow down or even stop. People can be in a bad job or a toxic relationship. They can overwork or overspend. We need the ability to see things that are going to be trouble and apply the breaks as we start going downhill.

The second thing you need to learn is how to start. As much fun as it is to hold onto my daughters seat to steady her as she gets started, the fun ends when I have to run halfway down the block to repeat when she turns around to head the other way. We progress quickly to talking about how you need one pedal at the peak, your foot at the ready. You push off with your other foot while you start to pedal, building momentum. It is important to learn how to start things in our life, to build momentum. To motivate ourselves to get done the things we need to do. We all procrastinate and put off what we know needs to happen from time to time. At some point though we need to give ourselves a little push to get our momentum going.

The last thing you need to learn is how to turn. It doesn't take long to realize you can only ride up and down your block in a straight line for so long. Sooner or later you need to turn if you want to ride around the block. Life is not a straight line, there are curves, peaks and valleys on our journey. Learning to turn around the obstacles that come our way will actually make our trip quicker and easier.

When we were little, first learning to ride a bike seems like an impossible task. I can see my daughter processing the pieces as she learns to put it all together, telling me that it is hard. Many of life's challenges seem complicated and difficult, they are at first. But when we learn how to break them down and take it one step at a time there is nothing we can't figure out.


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