two young people on mountain bikes

A mountain-biking lesson

A few years ago, I spent a day mountain-biking with my partner and a good friend of ours who lives in the mountains in Andalucia, Southern Spain. This friend runs mountain-biking treks in the beautiful area around his home.

It was a great day: scary and hard work in places, but really good fun. (I was drinking at the time, so you can imagine how I “rewarded” myself when we arrived tired and sweaty and achey back at the casita as the sun was going down… and you can also imagine how crap and incapacitated I felt the next day…)

We were both complete novices: I was a cautious and careful novice and my partner was a gung-ho, fearless novice. One of the things that our mountain-biking friend told us, as he was giving us useful tips and instructions when we got started, has really stuck with me. He said,

“Don’t look where you don’t want to go. Look where you want to go.”

He went on to explain that if you’re focusing on a large rock that you want to avoid, you’re much more likely to ride into it. The trick is to focus on the track between the rocks, as where you look is where you end up.

Those of you who have been working through the programme for a while now and have started to understand how it works will already know where I’m going with this…

Exactly the same logic applies to life. Where you look is where you end up. If you’re focusing on the things you don’t want (drink, shame, regret, deprivation, etc) that’s what you’re going to get. You steer yourself towards the things you do want, by paying them attention, focusing on them and giving them your energy.

Sarah demonstrated this beautifully in the Forum yesterday when she said that, having booked her festival tickets, she panicked because she wouldn’t be able to drink cider in the sun. However, she then flipped that round so that she was focusing on all the things she would get instead: she would remember the bands she’d seen; she’d enjoy some good workshops; she’d meet new people AND she wouldn’t feel like crap in the morning.

She’s looking at the track between the rocks instead of the rocks themselves.

If we focus on the drinks we’re missing out on, the good times we could have had if we were drinking, how great it would be if only we allowed ourselves to drink on that occasion, we’re much more likely to create that reality. BUT that’s the reality we’ve already decided we don’t want.

When you get into the habit of noticing when you’re focusing on the rocks and you take your attention back to the track in between, you will get to your destination much quicker and easier. You’ll get to enjoy that sunset and the glorious sunrise the next day too!

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