Nov 17, 2012
It’s Just Like Riding a Bike
I was reading a blog post by a friend who shared the all too frustrating, but very rewarding challenge of teaching his kids how to ride a bike. I remember many hours spent teaching my own kids how to ride a bike. Holding onto the seat, running behind them in a crouched down position until my back and patience had reached their limit. The most frustrating part in all of this was the moment when you realize that your soon to be bike riding child has all the skills it takes to ride a bike, except for one thing…confidence. As a parent, you do your best to build up and inspire your kids to be confident people. Not only for their own sake, but for their future contributions to society as an adult.” or “just don’t get it”.
As an adult, one of the reasons we get “stuck in our ways” is because we just stick with what we are good at, and confident in, so we nurture that skill and build a comfort bubble around it. As I thought more about the process of riding a bike, I narrowed it down to three basic skills a person needs in order to master two wheels. Focus, balance, confidence. That’s it. If you can master those three things you will have success in riding a bike. Most kids eventually were able to pick the skill of riding a bike, and create many great memories because of it. But what about the challenges, and skills we need to pick up or learn later in life as an adult?
A new job, social situation change, economic challenge, life tragedy, all of these things challenge our comfort bubble that we live in as adults. Often we cannot control these types of situations when they arise. However, we must RESPOND when called to the plate! This is especially true for Mom’s and Dad’s. When a person has a child, all the rules change. Everything you do is, in one way or the other, provides for your kids. Either you provide for them a positive situation, or a negative one. When a child sees mom or dad encounter a new challenge, they have 100% faith in us that we will over-come the obstacle, and succeed. Is that a heck of a lot of pressure on mom or dad? Yes. Is that kind of pressure fair? Probably not, but that’s life. So how do we approach the new challenge? The same way we learn to ride a bike. Focus, balance, confidence.
Focus on the task at hand. We have endless distractions in all aspects of our life. Sometimes it’s hard to wade through all the noise and find the right channel, but we have to do it. It becomes a matter of prioritization. Does that hour or two (or more) of TV in the evening help you reach that goal? Do those extra sleep hours you take on Saturday morning really help you get to the next level? Maybe they do maybe they don’t. That’s why you are the captain of your own soul and destiny. You are an adult, and are able to make your own decisions. The good and bad of that, is that NO ONE will make those decisions for you. Focus on your task, and move forward!
Once you master staying focused, you can work on the balance. Life doesn’t stop and let you dust yourself off when you fall. The world keeps moving. Just because you lost your job, doesn’t mean the mortgage company won’t want any money. Your bills and commitments will keep rolling in. You will still have to be a mom or dad, or a church leader, or school volunteer, or whatever. You will have to learn to balance your task, with the other roles and responsibilities you have in your life. You will find that if your intention is pure, things will work out. It won’t always be easy, but they will workout.
This is the biggie. I don’t believe that confidence can be inherited or faked. You have to earn it. The only way to become confident is by doing. One of my favorite quotes is by Theodore Roosevelt, it goes like this “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again… who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Gaining confidence ultimately is what gets you to the moment of triumph. It’s that earned confidence that you take with you after the battle is over.