Attempting the Impossible
I came across a story of Wilbur and Orville Wright that caught my attention not because it was another story on aviation of which I am a fan, but because of the revelation on the working of the minds of these two pioneers of the impossible. Some things truly are impossible, but most of us set up artificial barriers, excuses or reasons, for not doing what we would like to do. Many of us are scared away of tackling something because of the advice and comments of the ‘experts’ around us. The seeds of doubt are planted by others saying such things as: “Why would you want to do that?” “That’s really hard.” “Have you considered?” Or “That’ll be a lot of work.” It doesn’t make any difference whether you’re Lewis and Clark or Wilbur and Orville, there is always a purveyor of negative encouragement in the crowd. Wilbur summed up their situation as follows: “We knew that men had by common consent adopted human flight as the standard of impossibility.” What’s your standard of impossibility?
Most of us succumb to the pervasive thinking around us. We tell ourselves we don’t know how to do something or haven’t gone to school to be educated by experts. Then we listen to the experts around us who plant seeds of doubt. Did you know the Wrights were self-taught engineers, unequipped with an official university shingle making them qualified to do what they did? Their only qualification was persistence in wanting to do something, proving the nay-saying experts wrong and believing they could do it. They also grew up in a positive-thinking home! To quote Orville Wright: “We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests, to investigate whatever aroused curiosity.” There is little we can do about our home environment, but there is a lot we can do about the friends we consult when attempting the unknown. There is also a lot we can do when we are the friend being consulted.
You don’t have to be a builder of aircraft to accomplish new things that enrich your life. Over this past summer people have talked to me about their first camping trip, changing their first flat, modifying a bike, putting on their first chain, taking a class in bicycle repair, building a bike, riding cross-country, learning to use a GPS, all of which posed some daunting and not-so-daunting obstacles to success. But successful they were. Those memories are forever. One memorable statement from one of these conversations was: “I’m doing this because I’ve always been afraid to do new things.” Bravo!
Many years ago I attended a conference where a family-life speaker was telling the story of his father, who at the age of 59, decided to leave a successful business and go to seminary. He was encouraged by some around him with comments and questions of the variety, “Do you know how old you will be when you get out of school?” His reply, “I’ll be 62 whether I go or not.” The speaker went on to say that at the age of 83 and three churches later his father thought it was time to slow down and retire somewhat. This is certainly a unique individual, but his philosophy was sound: You’ll be the same age whether you attempt something or not. I hope I’m riding my bike at 83!
It’s been a whole year since I started my home-made, Long Haul Trucker project. It’s hard to believe. It provided me with many doubts and questions about conquering the unknown, and hours of amusement in the process. Since then it has provided many opportunities for additional tweeking and learning opportunities. More importantly, this bike has provided me with many thousands of miles of adventure and enjoyment. And the enjoyment just keeps on being relived long after the actual adventure is passed. A whole year, time that would have passed no matter what I did.
Dec 8 10:00am - Two Bridge Loop Dec 8 2:00pm - Salmon Creek SHOW -n- GODec 9 10:00am - Frenchman's Bar ParkDec 10 10:00am - Starliner Express RideDec 10 10:00am - Tour de Friends Dec 11 10:00am - The MiniQuakeDec 11 10:00am - The Earthquake RideDec 12 10:00am - Throbbing Thigh Thriller Two (aka TTTT)Dec 12 10:00am - CRUISER: Cruising with FriendsDec 13 10:00am - Salmon Creek - Brush Prairie View Ride Calendar
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