"You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar." This is a book title from the Sandler Sales Institute. I like the title because it's a great analogy for life. You can only learn so much from books, classes and other people; there comes a time when you just have to get on and ride.

 A similar point can be made when we are trying to obtain our Learner’s Permit to drive a car. First we have the formal classroom to learn about the traffic codes, laws and vehicle operation. The fun part comes when we actually sit behind the wheel and apply what we’ve learned from the books and instructor. When we actually drive, we are in control of where we want to go and what we want to see and experience. “Truly” living isn’t much different than learning to drive a car or riding a bike. We learn from others as they share their personal experiences; this is similar to the instructor and it’s educational but not experiential.  “Truly” enjoying life and learning from it comes from getting out there and just doing it.

One of the beautiful things about “living” is that we continue to learn and grow. Life is full of lessons and most of them come at the most unexpected and inopportune times. I use the word “inopportune” because we frequently say, “Now? Why did this have to happen now?”

I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful young woman last week who is in the middle of a rough patch in life. While being only in her early teens, her father passed away last year and she is having some challenging days with his absence. We had a great conversation about whether or not “everything” happens for a reason. We also questioned whether or not “everything” has a lesson to it. It’s my opinion that lessons and learnings don’t always come in the way of enlightenment and joy; some come in the way of struggles and sorrow. Some of them have been clear and obvious while others have been obscure and hidden. For me, the most challenging lessons are the ones that don't come with answers the moment I seek them....I "want" an immediate understanding. One day I realized that the delay I was experiencing in learning a lesson was also a lesson in and of itself. While waiting years to gain understanding on "why" certain things were happening, I realized that this “was” my lesson. I was learning patience. I had to come to terms with the fact that not everything happens for a reason. At least it didn't happen for a reason that I was supposed to understand. I simply had to have "faith" that it was part of a bigger plan for me; it was all part of my journey. I had to have "faith" that God knows what was better for me than what I think is best for myself. But...but...but this is "MY" life!  Shouldn't I have a say so in what happens in "MY" life? Then I realized that I DO. I have 100% control on my attitude and how "I" was going to respond to the experiences that occur in "MY" life. Similar to the saying, “You can’t help the cards you’ve been dealt; only the cards you play.”

We can choose our attitude as easily as we can choose to get on the bike or behind the wheel. We can choose to play it safe and only read about travel; finding a new career; moving on to a new location or moving outside of our typical comfort zone. We can play it safe and not reach out to feel love again after we have been hurt, or we can get on the bike and ride. We can choose to live in fear and anticipate every negative card and experience in life that will probably be dealt to us; or we can learn from the lessons and continue on our journey with optimism and appreciation.

Me… I’m opting to get on the bike and ride. Life can’t be lived in a seminar or through an instruction manual, but it most certainly can be enjoyed through the ride. Care to join me?