Consider the source

This is a little story about letting people who are afraid hold you back from trying things for yourself. If you’ve ever done that–and learned from it–tell me about it below.

When we moved into our beautiful home eighteen months ago, I considered getting a bike. We only live about three miles from my (then) office, and if I really rode my bike every day, maybe we could even sell one car…imagine the calories burned! Imagine the money saved!

Photo of a Harrisonburg street by taberandrew

Then a guy from work, a guy who lived about…1.2 miles from the office and never walked, a guy who called lunges “physical therapy” when they were “prescribed” by his doctor…this guy warned me that I probably wouldn’t be able to make it up the “big hill” between my house and the office.

And I said, “Yeah, you’re probably right.” And went on thinking I would┬áride my bike to work if I could, if it weren’t for that darn big hill.

But the itch never left me, and finally, this spring, I asked a guy who is passionate about biking what he thought about that hill.

“It’s a pain in the ass, but whatever,” he said. I realized then that I’d let someone who ┬ádrove his car to the bar four blocks away from the office convince me that I wouldn’t be able to take that hill because he wouldn’t.

I looked up buying a secondhand bike, cruised Craigslist for days, came up with a budget, and then walked right up to exactly what I wanted at the friendly local bike shop. And those guys also told me not to sweat it and even gave me directions for a scenic short cut that went around the hill entirely. There was literally nothing in my way all this time.

Photo by The Nick Page


Basically, I wasted more than a year on doubt and fear inspired by someone who hasn’t even tried to challenge himself. And you know what? Once I started riding, I realized that getting up a hill was way, way easier than I thought it would be. I realized that three miles on a bike takes about 15 minutes, and it’s awesome. I realized that next time I want to do something I haven’t done before, I should talk to the people who are doing it, and not the people who are too scared to get uncomfortable.

When’s the last time you let someone talk you out of something new? And did you prove that you could do it?

2 thoughts on “Consider the source”

  1. “I realized that getting up a hill was way, way easier than I thought it would be.” I like it when things are literal AND metaphorical. Nice.

    1. Right?! I feel like I learn so much from each of my hobbies: running, writing, working online…it’s all about the long haul, and it’s never bad if you just focus on what’s right in front of you.

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