Monday, September 15, 2014

There Are No Shortcuts

Throughout my life I've always enjoyed being challenged and learning new skills. From the time I was 7  years old and tried to learn how to ride my bicycle with no hands (resulting in a broken left arm) up till today, I'm never afraid to try something new. To set a goal. To challenge myself. To make no excuses. It's occurred to me that society is one giant excuse making machine. It seems there aren't many people who want to take personal responsibility for their lives. They become victims. They worry about all the bad that will happen, spew forth negativity, and when something bad does occur, they are almost happy as they exclaim, "I knew this would happen".

There are several things I've done because I wanted to challenge myself. In 2001 I bought a motorcycle. Not long afterward, I crashed and ended up sliding 150ft down asphalt. I had some road rash, but thanks to safety gear, was mostly unhurt. This did not stop me. Shortly thereafter I became an Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) instructor and began teaching people how to ride. In 2004 I did my first motorcycle track day. Eventually I ended up earning my certification to become a motorcycle racer. While I never raced, I received a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that I could have gridded up if I'd wanted to. I still enjoy riding, and it's one of the things in my life that helps me maintain balance. It's a wonderful escape to experience the interaction between man and machine.

The other major challenge I took on was learning to play bass guitar. I've always loved music, and decided at 38 years old I would buy myself a bass and learn to play. My goal was to play publicly by the time I was 40. I met my goal, and continue to enjoy playing. I constantly strive to get better. It would have been easier to say, "I'm too old to learn to play an instrument", but that's not how I do things. I am not blessed with exceptional musical talent. I practice and prepare extensively before I play publicly and I still make mistakes. I have found myself standing on stage with professional musicians, knowing full well I'm the worst player on the stage. I never let that get me down. I'm out there doing what I enjoy and getting better each day.

There are no shortcuts. As my father used to remind me "can't never could do anything" and "positive thinking gets positive results". Every setback is a lesson, an experience, a teaching moment. A positive attitude, drive, and desire will go a long way toward accomplishing your goals. What are your goals? What would you love to do? What are you doing to achieve those goals?

Challenge yourself to accomplish something. Stretch yourself.

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