"Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use."
Author: Charles Schulz, artist and creator of the comic strip Peanuts
When I was a kid, I spent lots of hours riding my ten-speed bicycle with my friends and family. One of the best things about growing up in a small town is you can ride fast and crazy down any street and not really worry about traffic. I popped lots of wheelies, rode through tons of mud puddles at top speed, and could ride half a mile with no hands. But one thing I didn't do was change gears. Nope. Not me. I tried to change gears once, but I wasn't peddling fast enough (I know, I know--riding 101, right?), so my chain jumped the track and I fell over. Well, after that, I kept it in first gear--the gear with the hardest push--and always rode fast.
My plan worked pretty well for the most part, except for one thing--going up hill. To go up a steep hill, you need to shift to the lowest gear, so the peddles turn faster and easier and you can make it up. For me, a person who was always riding in the highest gear, I'd have to stop half way up and walk because there came a point where I couldn't turn my peddles fast enough on the incline. Yup, just little me and my bike, both walking up the hill together as my friends rode on past me peddling in their low gears, waving goodbye. It wasn't my proudest moment.
I recently just got a new bike as a present. It's green and beautiful and so much fun. When I got on it for the first time, I said to myself, "You know what? I'm an adult now. I'm braver. I'm going to change my gears once in a while and go up hills without stopping." So when I saw my first hill approaching, I shifted to the easiest gear and went to the top. And it was so much easier than walking. Lesson learned!
But back to the quote. As you know, Schultz's quote isn't really about a bicycle--it's a metaphor about life. My bike riding did actually teach me about life, though. I learned that one of my "gears" that I wasn't using very often was bravery. And once I started using it, it actually made my life a heck of a lot easier and a little more rewarding, too.
Renegade Thought of the Day: What about you? What are the "gears" in your life that you use on a regular basis?
What are the "gears" that you need to start using? What's holding you back from using them? Does it hurt or help you to not use these gears?
Renegade Challenge: Practice using a new gear!
Bonus: Watch this video to see one place where I'm still not brave enough to ride my bike! (Can you guess the country?)
Hello from Seattle! As you may know, the teachers in Seattle's Public Schools are on still strike today in order to get a work contract that is fair. It's been an exhausting fight for everyone, but it looks like it may be over soon! Most of us in Seattle are getting a little anxious about heading back to school and getting the year started, but we must remember today's quote and be patient--just like Pooh must be patient when his head gets stuck in the honey pot. Oh, Pooh Bear!
Winnie-the-Pooh is a classic children's tale written by an Englishman named A. A. Milne (1882-1956). His life illustrates how you never know what can happen because he went to college on a math scholarship and was an officer in World War One, but ended up becoming a writer! Who would've expected that an officer/mathematician would end up writing children's stories?
Milne's children's stories aren't just written for children, though. They're very philosophical and apply to people of all ages. Take today's quote, for example. In my family, we're always rushing around. We rush to put our coats and shoes on to run out to the car to go to the store. When driving to store, someone suggests a faster way to get there. Then, at the store check-out, we try to find the shortest check-out line so we can get back and rush through making dinner. But why? So we can get to bed a few minutes sooner? So we can wake up sooner and rush through another day?
Pooh suggests we take time to slow down a bit. Maybe our life goals shouldn't be so focused on hurrying up and achieving the next big thing. Maybe instead we should be a
bit like Pooh and take the time to slow down and enjoy a little of life's honey.
Renegade Thought of the Day: Do you live your life one step at a time or in a hurry to reach the next big thing? What are the pros and cons of each?
Renegade Challenge: Take a moment to slow down and enjoy each part of your journey.
Bonus Video: Meet Tigger, someone who manages to both rush around and enjoy life!
Bonus Video: Try this calming 5 minute meditation and go to your next class feeling rejuvenated!