Creativity, Motivation, Personal Development

Learning to ride a unicycle and other idiotic challenges

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 – ).

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 🙂 ).


3 thoughts on “Learning to ride a unicycle and other idiotic challenges

  1. I can’t imagine writing this could bring you any discomfort 🙂 You write very well. The blog post deserves the key presses and those keys deserves you pushing them. Keep those fingers moving. I’ll be receiving your thoughts.


    1. On Willpower.

      In my recent wandering around the universe, I bumped into a minor god who was sort of standing’- levitating beside a large heap of nice vibrating mass of energy but the god looked terribly bored stiff.

      Looking at him I was wondering why was he so bored and why was he standing there beside that heap of something?

      So I figured might as well find out his reason for looking so sour, down on the mouth and since at a moment I had nothing better to do, place to rush off in the hurry and I was really curious what is that lovely heap of vibrating could be representing and why was he standing beside it.

      So I greeted him: Hi there good god…

      He looked through me and said: greetings human..

      Now, I realized I pegged him right that this god was really minor-uneducated because he did not know if I was a human, I could not see him, talk to him and know what he was saying, and I would not be floating about….but I let that ride, not much point making him wrong, no gain in that.

      I inquired : what is that heap you are standing beside?

      Oh, he said: Willpower.

      Willpower, wow I though, now that is fantastic I would not mind having some.

      I asked: are you selling the stuff?

      Oh… no…said he, I want to give it away but no one wants it, few have come by and one taken some but brought it back, he said it is not working has to be defected…LOL… I laughed, silently of course … LOL.. now that is funny!

      He continued: than small group come by they talked it over but decided against but before they left explaining it to me, if someone has willpower, than has to take responsibility for their action and they were not about to do something like that, it was not in their bag start some stupid fad that way, no, they did not want anything to do with willpower.

      The poor god poured out rest of his unhappy story, he said; two others come and they had sniff and taste but they did not say a thing just left, they did not even bother to say good bye!

      Here I was thinking… this good god was lucky that they were humans or some other breed because if this taster were dogs more likely they would have peed on pile before they left.

      He continued: I really would like to get rid of this heap here because six galaxies away there is someone giving lessons in square dancing and I want go and learn… you see, she gives discount on the lessons now because it is a slow season.

      I laughed I could not help myself since this made total sense to me after all I thought: every god should know how to square dance, but I just said: since you are giving it away I would not mind having some of this Willpower, will you give me some?

      He noticeably perked up and asked: how much you want? Well, I said ‘’ I take it all’’, thinking: I had nothing to lose by having it.

      As he looked at me measured me up and he wrinkled his godly eyebrows: That is a lot of willpower here, he said, are you sure you want it all? can you handle it? I just have to tell you I don’t have a manual, it got rotted away by the passing of time. Sure you want it?

      Sure I am sure : I answered, I figured what I don’t want I will sell on E-bay.

      Well, to make this story sort, here I am stuck with a large load of willpower…love the stuff.

      And now because humans don’t have any of this commodity therefore many of you can go on selling ideas and make a good living offering courses that teaches: yes: you can do it!


  2. Hi there Ed…. there are no coincidences… to write these posts, to be challenged to do so was on your Path and what ever you will take out of these daily experiences that is totally depends on you. 🙂
    There is nothing to lose since each experience in it self is a wonderful having-ness.


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