Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Excuses

"I can't, I just can't.  Because of all these things (insert variables, x, y, z, q) I just can't. And that's all there is to it.  I can't and so you must.  You must do this because I am unable."

How many times and in how many places have we heard this?  It comes in many flavors too...

...Sometimes it's uplifting: Yoda cannot bring back the Jedi because his time is through, and so it falls to Luke.  

... Sometimes it's a bit irrational: A dear friend who is afraid of spiders will not enter a room where one is present if she can observe it or knows about it until it is removed.

... Sometimes it's defeat: Something is hard enough that you can't do it right the first time, and so give up.

We learn in life, in books, in songs, in Buddhism, and - of course - in bicycles that victory comes in many forms.  If I had stopped riding just because Gus (my old bike) broke, or Charlie would get flats that I couldn't fix (or any other manner or repair), or it rained or I got lost - then life would not look like what it looks like today.  I would not be me.  In these, as in so many things, sometimes perseverance is in and of itself the victory.  We keep riding, we keep going, because we must, because to give up is to admit defeat - and defeated people don't ride.  

Victory may not be standing at a podium with a medal around your neck, cameras blazing while you give a speech, or receive some delightful recognition.  Victory may be that you just pick yourself up and try again, and again and again, until finally something goes right.  Never give up.

It hurts my heart when someone talks this way through the lens of defeat, of fear, of giving up.  There's so much more to us than defeat.  

Hemingway writes in the The Old Man and the Sea; "But man is not made for defeat.  A man can be destroyed but not defeated."

Just because it doesn't work out the way you wanted, or on the first try, or it seems so easy for others while it is so difficult for you doesn't mean you can't; it just means you have to try harder.  I have invited myself to live a life of no excuses; I will stop with reasons why I can't and instead redetermine - however many times it takes, to do it and know in my heart I've won.

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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License