"If you'd like to teach
a kid to ride a bike,
training wheels are a bad idea."
-- Seth Godin
Seth continues: "You're much better off with a small bike with no pedals. All training wheels do is confuse, distract or stall." And, since Seth Godin is a marketing author and expert, he adds, "the same is true for marketing. You don't need to go to school for four years. You need to do marketing." He also says that "the same thing is true for leadership. Find something worth doing, find others to join in."
Have you ever tried to ride a bike with training wheels? It just doesn't feel right. One of the unique things about a bike is that it has a roll axis, unlike a car with four wheels. In other words, we can lean right or left, and in fact, that ability to lean has a great deal to do with riding a bike, and training wheels stops the roll axis, and you can watch a little kid on a bike with training wheels trying to lean and they can't. It's a silly protectionist thing that a parent would put on a bike because they are afraid the child will come to harm. But it slows the process of learning to a crawl.
It would be like trying to fly a plane with it attached to a pole. A plane has, even more, freedom than a bike because instead of two axes, roll, and yaw, it has three--roll, pitch, and yaw. Left or right leaning, up or down, and right or left pointing. Training wheels on a bike limit the rider to one axis: yaw. It takes all the freedom away.
Our freedom is in our ability to decide, to do or to act. As we consider the fear of decision's ramifications, and/or the unknown aspects of doing something we may have never done before, we attach training wheels to our life. It feels weird but safer, and yet, it isn't safe at all. We can feel inside that it doesn't feel right. We can feel the resistance and restraint involved. We have imprisoned ourselves, lost our freedom.
Because we so strongly want freedom, we rebel against the self-created resistance and restraint, and with the ego's complete cooperation, we begin blaming others, external forces, and more. And yet, our freedom is always fully in our control if we will only become aware of that power. Training wheels will not help us learn to use this power, we must simply exercise it, trust it will all be okay and move.
Freedom is also our willingness and ability to fail and to learn from those failures. The label, fail or failure is made up. Truly there are only results, and we can then make adjustments if the results are not as desired. Pema Chodron wrote a short book about leaning into the unknown. The title is, Fail. Fail Again. Fail Better.
Take off the training wheels! Freedom awaits!