Yesterday I fixed my son’s bike. I straightened the back tire, reattached the training wheels, and adjusted the frame. It was an easy fix, and it made me a hero in my son Noah’s eyes. After we fixed the bike, we tested it. Noah put on his helmet, swung his leg over the seat of his “motorcycle”, and rode down the curb. Although the frame needed a little bit more adjusting, it was fixed enough. For the next few minutes, he rode up and down the sidewalk as fast as he could pedaling vigorously.
There was so much joy on Noah’s face. So much happiness, excitement, and pleasure.
Until he fell…
It may have been slightly my fault. I was blocking part of the sidewalk. But I didn’t expect my son to try to straddle the curb to pass me. But he did. His left training wheel went off the edge, and you can imagine the rest. It was bad. All of the joy, happiness, excitement, and pleasure was gone in an instant.
I turned around and picked Noah up. I examined him for cuts, bumps, or raspberries (road-rash). He seemed fine. I tried to calm him down by telling him, “It’s okay buddy. Sometimes we fall when we ride bikes, and the best thing we can do is pick ourselves back up and get back on the bike. I know it hurts, but you can do it. You’re a big brave boy. Brush it off, and get back on.”
Noah listened to me. He got back on his bike, and road around for a while. After a minute or two, the joy, happiness, excitement, and pleasure slowly came back.
When I was a kid, I fell off stuff a lot. I fell off my bike, the swing set, and my dad’s tractor. I slipped on my roller blades. I tried to ride a skateboard on my back down a steep hill. And every time I fell, I got back up. Sometimes I got up more slowly. Sometimes I bounced back quickly. Sometimes it was a day or two before I could bounce back. But I got up (often with my mom or dad’s help), dusted off, and got back on my bike.
At some point over the past two decades I forgot this simple lesson. At some point I bought into the idea that failing is a bad thing and falling is embarrassing. Someone somewhere taught me that mistakes are contrary to success.
But that wasn’t always my reality. When I was a kid I inherently knew that mistakes were steps to achieving success.
I’m not saying mistakes are THE way to be successful. That’s obviously not true. Successful people learn how to minimize mistakes and capitalize on doing things the right way. No duh! But for those of us at the beginning of life or the beginning of an adventure, it would serve us well to remember the value of “falling.” Because so far, in my limited experience, I have found that “falling” taught me some very valuable lessons about life.
So if you’re starting a new adventure, job, or life-phase here’s some encouragement for you: when we fall, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back on our bikes knowing that mistakes are steps to achieving success.
What is an example from your life of a time when you had to get back on your bike and keep riding? What did you learn? Comment below and continue the discussion…