A few years ago my wife, Gerd-Hanne, joined together with a group of friends and bought me a unicycle for my birthday. A few weeks earlier I had mentioned to Gerd-Hanne that I had read an article that inspired me to learn one new physical skill every year. The article made the point that most people get old, in their thinking as well as their bodies, because they stopped learning new things. Intuitively we all recognize the truth of this with respect to learning new cognitive skills or exploring novel ideas and ways of thinking. It is less intuitive that the same holds true of learning new physical skills. It’s not important that the new skills be very physically demanding. They can be as simple as learning to knit or how to tie your shoes in a new way (for more on how to tie your shoes check out this Ted Talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/terry_moore_how_to_tie_your_shoes ).
Gerd-Hanne didn’t think that learing to tie my shoes in a different way was enough of a physical challenge. Hence the unicycle. Now I consider myself to be a well above average athletic guy. I tend to learn new sports and physical skills rather easily. I approach physical challenges with the attitude that I’ll conquer this in no time. But learning to ride a unicyle was different. For the first time in my life, when faced with a physical challenge, my mind told me that I coudn’t do it. I tried to sit on this pole with pedals and a wheel and just could not get any feel that this could at all be possible. Long story short. A couple of weeks of plodding along, little by little, fall after fall, looking very much like an idiot, I did eventually conquer the unicycle. I am not a master at it. No circus master will be begging me to join her menagerie in the immediate future, but I can ride it. No training wheels and no one to hold my hand. Just me, two pedals and a wheel on a thin metal pole.
Why am I bringing this story up? An Irish guy I just met yesterday challenged me to do something that, upon hearing it, my first reaction was, I can’t do this. His challenge. Start a blog and write in it everyday for one hundred days. For some a simple task. For me a tedious, energy draining and overall waste of time thing to do. Yuck. I don’t like it.
So, here I am writing my first post. The little voice in my head still tells me that I can’t do it. But I guess all I can do is plod along, little by little, fall after fall (or in this case perhaps a fall means posting meaningless drivel a good bit of the time) and hope that something worthwile comes of it. Hopefully, like the physical challenges I give myself each year (tying my shoe laces is this year’s challenge 🙂 ), this one will also help me to maintain a high level of creativity, flexibility and innovation. Perhaps I might learn something as well.
Done with day one blog (or rather day two if I count Brendan’s initial introduction 🙂 ).