I’ve always been amazed by how skillful the Dutch are with bicycles. They can ride a bike with a Christmas tree in one hand and a cappuccino in the other one. And I’m not even joking.
When I first moved to the Netherlands, riding a bicycle seemed like a daunting venture for me. Luckily my boyfriend, who is Dutch, taught me the basics, and I got used to this new way of transport in no time. However, I was afraid that my hands would not be fast enough to brake, so I always kept them on the handlebars. Yet, this didn’t feel freeing. My hands felt tight all the time, and I wished I had more confidence to loosen up a bit.
One day while riding my bike with my boyfriend, I asked him how he is able to bike with no hands. And he said, “Well, you first focus your weight on the seat and pedals, and then take your hands off of the handlebars.” Even though this sounds very simple, it requires a lot of focus, practice, and self-trust.
The first time I tried biking with no hands, my balance was terrible. I couldn’t help but thinking that I was going to fall. But with time I learned to trust myself, and I eventually got the hang of riding one handed. And after practicing a few more times, I could finally ride my bike with no hands. The day when this happened, I felt like Meg Ryan in City of Angels, FREE. Except that I wasn’t hit by a truck.
This experience allowed me to ponder the idea that we often keep ourselves stuck to something that doesn’t satisfy us because of our fear of failure. So, having our hands stuck to the brakes or the handlebars looks a lot like not taking risks, or missing opportunities.
As children, trusting ourselves was inherent. We didn’t stop playing out of a fear of falling. We knew that if we fell, we could always get up and try again. But as we become adults, that natural self-trust gets shushed until we can hardly hear it anymore. We rely on our friends, family, and gurus to help us figure out what is right for us.
Fortunately self-trust is a strength that can be cultivated. We can do so by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. So, instead of thinking that something isn’t going to work, remind yourself that you’re worthy of your dreams and desires.
Spend time practicing the things you want to be good at. The more you practice, the more self-trust and confidence you’ll develop. Trusting yourself is like learning to drive a car. You don’t just get in the car and start driving. You come back and try again and again until you’re able to do it.Trust your inner voice and start doing things you never thought possible. Trust that the choices you make will work in your benefit. Click To Tweet
I’d like to conclude this post with this quote by Nelson Mandela:
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
P.S. I though you would like to see me cycling with no hands. 😛