When I was a kid, I had a bike that I thought I could ride pretty well. After all, it was my bike and I rode it every day. I knew its quirks, I knew its strengths, I knew its weaknesses. Or so I thought. One day, a friend asked to try my bike.
He hopped on my bike and then paused as if sizing it up. Then, with confidence and grace, he rolled slowly forward and balanced on the front wheel. He then started to hop on the front wheel several times, before spinning 180 degrees. He then went backwards on my bike and lifted up the front wheel. He then proceeded to hop up and down on the back wheel. He then spun my bike in the air 360 degrees, as if he was one with my bike.
He peddled away fast, then turned around with amazing speed … and he hit a jump. As he glided through the air on my bike, higher than I ever saw my bike go, he glanced at me, with a knowing look. He rode my bike up to me with blinding speed, slammed on the brakes, and slid the back tire in a wide circle to a fiery, screaming halt. When the dust cloud cleared, he had my bike up on it’s back tire. He gave the handle-bars a quick spin, the sun glistened off my spokes, then he snatched handle-bars to a perfect halt, much the way a drummer might catch their twirling drumstick.
As I scooped my jaw up off the ground, and took the handlebars of my bike, I was silent. I looked at my bike through new eyes that day. I had never known what was possible.
That was long ago, but it’s always a reminder to me. I always wonder whether somebody else would drive me better than I can. I’ve got the “owner’s manual”, but maybe not the best “driver’s guide.” As a practice, I periodically ask people I trust …
“What would you do if you were me?…”
I listen with an open mind, as they tell me what they might do if they had my skills, my experience, my capabilities, and my situation. Sometimes it re-affirms I’m making the most of what I’ve got. other times, it opens my eyes to possibilities I never imagined.
Photo by Adam Baker.