Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lessons from the Saddle

As my daughters delight in pointing out, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But after a while, even a dull knife sometimes gets the point.

I have been noticing that, every time we go bike riding, it’s windy out. In fact, it has been frustrating me. Sometimes, it is genuinely windy.
Yesterday, for example, it was so windy that we had to pedal to go downhill. Meanwhile, once the wind was behind us, we were able to coast uphill; we didn’t have to pedal at all. You believe me, don’t you?
Back on topic: it finally dawned on me today — about the wind that is. It happened when we stopped for lunch. As soon as we got off the bikes, the wind died down to a gentle breeze. Eureka!
When you pedal, you’re really always pedalling against the wind. Even if the true wind is behind you, blowing at (say) 5 kph, if you are pedalling at 20 kph, then it’s still like you are pedalling into a 15 kph wind.
It took me over two months to get that. Not the sharpest knife indeed!

So what? Well, it strikes me that this is parable-like. It’s really true about life and all that we do in life. The harder that you pedal (i.e. strive for excellence), the harder the going gets; the winds of adversity pick up their heads and blow right into your face.

You can coast to a C, or maybe even a B, but you can’t coast to an A (not most of us anyway). You might be able do a satisfactory job without expending too much energy, but it takes a lot of effort to be a great employee. It’s easy to cut back on dessert for a day or two, but it takes planning and commitment to succeed in a long-term and enduring life-style change.

It’s easy to get on the bike and enjoy a leisurely pedal around the block, but it’s hard to be out on the trail, pumping your legs for two hours. But you know, I always feel better once I get home.

I think we all feel better when we make up our minds to do something really well and then put our hearts into it. We all need to strive for excellence in some area of our lives. We need to get out and pedal against the wind. It’s hard work, but, eventually, it feels really good.

1 comment:

Anvilcloud said...

Synchronicity is at work. You get a mention two blogs up.