Riding a bike can be one of the best childhood experiences. The sense of speed and control, the wind against your face…ah, little else comes close. Some of my best childhood memories stem from the freedom I enjoyed while riding my bicycle through the neighborhood. Oftentimes, without stopping, two of my best friends would join me as I zoomed past their houses.
Every Saturday we would head out to the nearby trails alongside Crescent Lake. Riding those trails was a thrill I remember to this day. The twists and turns accompanied by an occasional jump across a small water-fill ditch added to the thrill and adventure of it all. There was one area in particular that presented an especially harrowing challenge — it was the best scariest experience a boy could ask for…
At the end of the trail was a six-foot deep gorge, stretching eight feet across. I remember the first time the challenge came into view as we crested a small rise in the terrain of the final stretch of the trail. To a nine-year-old me, the gorge was an intimidating chasm of a challenge that begged to be overcome.
Fortunately, all three of us quickly figured out the key to mastering the task of overcoming the challenge — momentum with a dose of courage. The first time we considered jumping the gorge with our Schwinn Stingray bikes was one of the earliest “strategy sessions” I can ever clearly recall. How would we do it? Who would go first? In retrospect, the one thing we never discussed was a contingency plan should any of us fail to accomplish the task. In the mind of a nine-year-old, there’s no room for even a consideration of failure.
We drew the plan in the dirt with a stick — not that we needed to, mind you. It’s something we saw on TV several times, so we figure it was what we were supposed to do to succeed. The small hill leading down to the gorge was long enough to give us the room we would need to gain enough speed to attempt the challenge…if we pushed the limits of our physical and psychological abilities. We were smart enough to figure out that speed was a necessary factor if we were to create enough momentum to carry us across that intimidating gorge.
We had a starting point — the top of the hill. We had a goal — to successfully “fly” over the gorge. And we had a plan — ride full-out and hope we had enough speed to create the momentum that would carry us to our goal.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
We did a rock-paper-scissors drill to determine who would go first. I came in last — a blessing and a curse. I figured if the first two didn’t make it, I’d have an excuse not to attempt the challenge. But if they did make it, I’d be expected to follow through and do the same. The tension mounted…
Andy went first. I remember Lars and me watching as Andy raced to the bottom of the hill and hit a small rise just before the gorge, lifting him and his bike into the air. He was airborne before we realized it, and, as if in slow motion, we watched as he easily made it to the other side, skidded to a stop, and declared his victory by throwing his bike aside and jumping into the air and shouting “yeah!” Lars and I were amazed and knew it was now our turn to face the challenge.
Lars and I exchanged a high five, and before I knew it, I sat alone atop the small hill watching Lars peddling with everything he had to the bottom of the hill. I held my breath as I watched him go airborne. Lars’ landing wasn’t as graceful as Andy’s. In fact, he landed pretty hard and ended up crashing into the dirt on the other side. But he had made it! Andy helped him up and dusted him off and soon, the two were celebrating their victories, encouraging me to “go, go, go!”
My heart raced as I focused all my attention on the gorge below. I wanted so badly to make it to the other side where my friends now stood. One last deep breath followed by a scowl of determination…
I peddled so hard I don’t even remember traveling down the hill. The small rise in the dirt at the edge of the gorge is where I instinctively knew I’d have to pull up to assist the forces of momentum that would carry me across the gorge. My timing wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to send me airborne as time suddenly slowed…then, just as quickly, returned to normal, as I found myself feverishly braking to a halt. I made it! And I didn’t crash…which gave me equal bragging rights with Andy.
In life, we are often faced with obstacles that get in the way of our dreams, goals, and aspirations. Unfortunately, many people needlessly give up on their dreams because of the seemingly insurmountable nature of the obstacles they face. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can gain power over the obstacles you face throughout life. To do that, you need to gather some basic information. This information will help orient you in such a way that promotes clarity and fosters a determined purpose through a simple, quick self-assessment that you can easily accomplish.
Where was I? Where am I? Where do I want to go?
To reach a destination, you must gain clarity. You must know where you’ve been to understand how you got where you are. In the end, you are where you are because of the choices you made that got you there. Knowing where you are, helps you determine where it is you want to go. That too is a choice you alone must make.
Once you gain clarity, you gain focus. With focus, you gain power and dominion over the changes you need to make to achieve your dreams, goals, and aspirations. Change begins with action. And action, consistently practiced, produces momentum!
“Where focus goes, energy flows.” ~ Jim Rohn
Model the best of what succeeds. Make your model compelling so you are driven to follow through. Then, get a proven plan and follow it. Don’t do what you’ve done in the past. Those methods don’t work, so stop wasting your time and begin at once to create the momentum you need to succeed.
Create a plan that really resonates — one that aligns with your natural gifts and talents. Then, get a successful partner. Find someone who is successful in the area you desire to be successful. Don’t rely on a “good friend” who you know won’t help you to achieve and sustain the momentum you need to see results.
Finally, get going! Don’t overanalyze, over-strategize, or over-complicate things. Analysis produces facts, figures, and more of what you’ve been getting — very little in terms of results.
Your analysis indicates your interest. Interest alone won’t bring you…
Interest is insufficient to feed momentum. There’s only ONE thing that will bring you more in terms of health, wealth, and happiness…
Action produces results. So, just do it!
Never leave the site of a goal without doing something to attain it. In other words, when you’re in a state of mind where you realize, “OK, I’ve got to take action,” at that moment, you’ve got to take action.
I’m going to get into better shape, I’m going to work on my relationships, I’m going to start my own business, I’m going to turn my finances around…at THAT moment, you need to TAKE ACTION…in the moment…right now! Taking action locks in your commitment to change direction. Taking action creates an entirely new course immediately. At that moment, you have planted the seed of momentum. At that moment if you do something that compels you to follow through, you’ll take the second step, the third step, and so on…all the way to the completion of your goal. So make sure you get that process of momentum going in your life.
Keep Yourself Going
If you’re not where you want to be, just get started. If you’ll just get started you’ll begin feeling strong again. You’ll start feeling alive again. That’s the power of momentum!
The secret to achieving is doing the right thing over, and over, and over…until you’ve created an unstoppable momentum.
Until next time…
I’m Gary Westfal, reminding you to…
Live Your Best Life!