We should be cleaning our obstacles (Part 1)

mind resilience Feb 25, 2021

What's up Chicks! Lanz here...

I am having a heck of a day so far. I have eaten half a block of chocolate (something I have never done before), contemplated throwing my computer out the window, and crying and going back to sleep. Those of you who know me know that is a pretty extreme reaction from someone who is usually even tempered and pretty measured in their responses to things. What has got me so frustrated this morning?

Website technical difficulties. After ending last week on a high and having a great weekend, I was alerted to a website issue late last night. It sounded like an easy fix so I dozed off to sleep confident that I would have it sorted in no time this morning. I awoke bright and early at 6am. Eased into my day, and started working around 7am.

As I write this now it is 1pm. I have had two problems this morning and spent around 4 and a half hours trying to solve them - to no avail I might add. After eating the chocolate (don't worry I had a really healthy salad for lunch) and contemplating pouring a whiskey and buying a pack of smokes, I decided on the less self damaging course of taking a break from work and watching mountain biking videos.

I had previously been walking around in the kitchen admonishing myself for becoming so annoyed - and wondering if I was going to learn some sort of life lesson from my emotional state.

It was like the mountain biking gods/spirits/insert preferred deity here, felt my pain and came to the rescue. I typed "mountain bike skills" into the search bar in YouTube and clicked on a beginner clinic video that showed people riding over logs in a park. Not the most exciting one there but I had to start somewhere. I began to watch it, and to be honest was not that impressed - I was actually about to switch it off when an absolute gem of advice came out of nowhere.

The voice of the man hosting it (Seth is his name so we will use that from now on) had just finished explaining how to transfer your weight to ride over an obstacle and finished with "it just takes practise". WOW you might be thinking. What a genius. Who would have thought that we need to practise things to get better at them? (Apologies - I speak sarcasm fluently) THAT was not the gem. This next bit was...

"Most people don't practise. They go out on the trails, ride over stuff sloppily, and keep moving. The key to getting better is to go back, and clean things"

Ho. Ly. Sh*t.

I immediately picked up what the mountain biking spirits were putting down! When you mess something up, or come up to something that you can't conquer, instead of riding over it sloppily and quickly getting past it - you need to clean it! (For those of you who don't know what "clean it" means - it means being able to do something smoothly or properly) Disclaimer: I'm not saying you need to clean EVERYTHING in your life. That would take forever and you would miss out on a lot of the living bits.

But if it is important, or something you are likely to encounter it again then it might pay to take some time and clean it. Now cleaning it could be something that you need to do, ie - me getting better at sorting out technical issues on the website.

Or it could be cleaning the way you respond to something, ie me not getting so annoyed with myself. Why did I get so annoyed with myself this morning? There are bound to be things in life that I cannot do, especially the first time I encounter them. So what made me so grumpy with myself? It seems illogical. I think part of it is I am accustomed to being able to solve problems quickly.

That is part of my military training and a skill I have been cultivating for over a decade. I was disappointed I could not apply the same problem solving solutions to my current issue. In other words, none of my Goggle searches were useful! Still riding the high of my new found wisdom I continued to watch the video and listen eagerly to Seth. The video went on to flick from a group of students in the park, to a mountain biker attempting to descend a rocky outcrop. He fails a couple of times and then succeeds. The video flicks back to the group with the logs in the parking lot and lays some more sweet wisdom on me!

"Whether you are riding rocks on the side of a mountain, or riding logs in a parking lot - you're a BADASS if you keep trying"

Pearls of wisdom, some of you might be thinking. I should keep on trying until I get it right. Great advice. (MORE sarcasm) It IS great advice! Most of us would offer it to our kids, our friends, a character in a movie or a book, nearly anyone but ourselves.

Why is that? Hmmmm... 

My take on it is that if trying only included repeating something, then more people would do it. But trying doesn't only consist of repeating things. It can consist of any and all of the following: repeating things, and failing.

Repeating them again, failing worse than before. Crying, embarrassment, pain, anger, frustration, shame, quitting, coming back to it, sitting down playing on Facebook as a distraction, Instagramming only the good bits of your life so people think you're doing better than you are, swearing, AND then finally when you are about to sacrifice a goat to get it right, somethings clicks.

You do get it right! We seem to have no problem watching characters in movies go through this emotional rollercoaster to succeed. It is a beautiful thing to watch someone overcome their struggles from the comfort of our couches.


We can tag along in the journey and share in the successful outcome without actually having to go through the pain of failure ourselves. Coming back to the new "how to get through the tough bits of life bible" - otherwise known as the YouTube video I was watching. Seth goes on to say that sometimes obstacles come one after another, and you need to be able to set up for them quickly. He shows people failing and trying, and falling and trying again and finally succeeding. Then we meet Lisa.

Lisa is a little slower to pick up the skills than the others. We find out that she has never really stood up while riding before and that is obviously making it difficult for her to negotiate the obstacles.

We then learn that Lisa is very determined. She will drive an hour and a half from her home whenever possible to ride and gain confidence on her favourite trail. She continues to receive lessons from Seth. He teaches her how to pedal over roots and rocks, between trees and down a big ramp. It is heartwarming watching her improve.

Want to know how you can apply this to your own life, and find out which video I have been watching? Join me for part 2, coming next week!