Happy on Myself

Amidst the vast wasteland that is internet videos, every often I come across a true gem. This is one of those videos.

A little boy has just learned how to ride a bike, and he is more than enthusiastic about it. He is inspirational.

Here’s the video: I feel happy on myself 

For us psychologically oriented folks, we’d say that he was expressing a sense of mastery. He achieved something he’d never been able to achieve before. And the feeling of that achievement, in his words, was “feeling happy on myself.” That may be the best feeling description I’ve ever heard.

It’s one we adults tend to feel less and less. As we move through adulthood, the list of things we’ve mastered grows longer and longer. Conversely, the incentive for us to try new (and unmastered) things grows smaller and smaller. We might not do it well the first attempt. Why not stick with those things we can do well (or at least adequately)? Why risk the foolishness of failure? Besides, we might break something.

Learning something new can also take time. Artists and craftsmen know the value of repetition and practice. You don’t just read a book on making pottery. You learn about it and then you learn by doing it. You get your hands dirty. You make terrible, misshapen pots. and you keep working at it. And on that day when you throw a pot that comes out right… well, you feel happy on yourself.

I think that people age in one of two ways. Some people grow dry and brittle, like leather that’s been left out and never nourished. Their lives are brittle with fear and regrets and smallness. Other people have a glow about them, like the soft beauty of leather that’s been nourished over and over again, that’s worn but is worn smooth and beautiful.

The willingness to learn new things and risk new things is, I think, part of the nourishment of our lives. It helps keep us alive while we are yet living. It helps our lives to keep growing and keep shining.

So, what new thing are you going to learn or try or even allow yourself to think? If you need inspiration, here are some words from a very young but very wise man:

Everybody ! 

 I know you can believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike.  If you don’t you just keep practicing. You will get the hang of it, I know it. If you keep practicing you will know it and you will keep getting better and better at it….You can do it.

Thumbs up everybody! 

Rock and roll!


Typing Lesson

I’ve become a student again. No, I’m not reading great tomes of theological literature. I’m not pursuing the latest thoughts in counseling. (Well, actually I am doing that but that’s not what I’m referring to here.)

I’ve become a typing student.

Becoming a beginnerEach day that I come into the office I open up my computer typing program and start practicing and learning the lessons. (As long as I use words made up of the letters asdfjkl; I’m  good to go right now. If this blog starts sounding strange, you’ll know I’ve reverted to my comfort level.)

I could have taken typing in junior high school, as some of my classmates did. But I was beginning to look ahead to college applications. By virtue of being in band, I already had one lightly weighted class. I didn’t think my academic standing could afford another.

Besides, when would I need typing? Other than typing the occasional term paper on the typewriter, I wasn’t going to be using that skill much.

Wrong decision.

I’ve typed well enough to get by. And if you don’t need a mistake free piece, I can actually type fairly quickly. But a significant portion of my work now involves typing, whether it’s writing a book or column or this blog, typing up client notes, writing a sermon or even posting on Facebook. My lack of skill was beginning to get in my way. So I swallowed my pride and became a beginner again.

Sometimes I talk to people who need to learn something, a skill that for whatever reason they didn’t learn as a child. Maybe it’s how to be in a healthy relationship. Or how to ask for what they need. Or how to make a bed. Invariably they try to tell me that they shouldn’t have to learn such things. They should know it.

But that’s the rub. They don’t. And just like my typing, we all have a choice sooner or later to become a beginner again and learn those things we have not yet learned… or to allow that lack to continue to have an impact on our lives. At some point, it doesn’t matter what you should or shouldn’t have learned. It’s about what you know. And what you’re going to do about what you don’t know.

That’s all for now. I’m off to learn the exciting world of e and i.