I wasn’t an exemplary kid or teenager but I hope I’m doing a little better as an adult. I’ve made so many mistakes and sometimes look back and think “how did I do that?!” As I come to my mid-thirties I think I have finally got a grasp on what matters in life.
Normally blogs like these come from people a little further down the line and I’ve always loved reading them. There’s nothing more I’ve enjoyed than to ask an 80 year old “what would you do differently? What is your one piece of advice for me?” I like to think that I listen attentively and act on their advice (see lesson 9 below).
It’s no surprise that I came up with these whilst on a 4 hour ride. It’s a while since i’ve cycled on my own for that length of time and my mind just seemed to break free. They came to my mind like the road passing beneath me. If only I was as quick at getting them into my phone – that made for some interesting no-handed ascents, descents and everything in between! Here goes:
1. Never laugh at anybody, only laugh with them. You could be in their position some day.
2. Your only competition is with yourself so focus on that.
3. A simple “thank you” goes a long way (I tried this several times on the ride with an obedient truck driver and car, they seemed very pleased).
4. Listen more than you speak. This is really hard for me. But at least I know I suck at it!
5. Respect the environment. Any time you need to break free from things mother nature is always there for you.
6. Never forget what people have done for you, from that small favor by your neighbour, to the brave soldiers that lost their lives.
7. Keep smiling to people and saying hello even if they don’t say it back. Always at least say one or two words in the local language where you are.
8. Time is your most valuable asset, even if you don’t think it now you soon will.
9. Respect your elders, they have been through much more and learnt from their mistakes already.
10. Love, love and love your family and friends. Every other negative emotion is a waste of time.
I confess that I have rose tinted glasses on at the time of writing this. Life is great and I am lucky to have an incredible wife, family, work and living environment. So when things go wrong I’ll look back on these lessons to remind me what’s important.
Finally, I can highly recommend 4 hour rides for personal improvement…