The famous physicist Albert Einstein once said ‘Life is like riding a bicycle to keep your balance you must keep moving’.
There has been some debate over the years as to who really did say “life is like riding a bicycle to keep your balance you must keep moving.” In research, I found that the quote was translated from a letter that Albert Einstein wrote to his son. His words were written in German.
“Beim Menschen ist es wie beim Velo. Nur wenn er faehrt, kann er bequem die Balance halten.”
What does life is like riding a bicycle really mean?
Riding a bike is not the same for everyone. Some people may find it easy, others may find it hard. This is the same in life. Everyone has different times in their lives where they go off track. They become unbalanced. Maintaining work-life balance is not a smooth path. Naturally, it takes focus, determination and skill to balance life.
For me ‘like riding a bicycle’ means learning and adjusting different areas of my life as needed for work-life balance. Of course, this may be different for you, as you and I may have different life goals.
The German quote has the word ‘bequem’ which means comfortable. For me, to comfortably be in balance means to focus on different areas of life at different times, but keep moving forward with them all.
So the meaning of life is like riding a bicycle is to keep balance you must keep moving. Consequently, if you have ever been to a life coach or read a goals book you may have completed a wheel of life. A wheel of life helps you with setting goals to balance your life.
The 5 steps of riding a bicycle in comparison to work-life balance.
Seldom do you just jump on and ride when you learn to ride a bicycle. More often than not, you learn by doing and have tools that assist you along the way.
I don’t know about you but when I first learnt to ride a bike I had training wheels.
Step 1 – Training Wheels.
When you first learn to ride a bike you often have training wheels as your support. As you learn new skills for business or life you normally start by learning. This can be by going through training modules, watching someone, reading and implement. Just observing and learning how to do something.
One thing for me has been learning to blog and learning online business skills as I create a lifestyle business, that will give me the location and time freedom I seek. While learning the ropes of the business, I’ve had my training wheels on studying many online courses. Course on blogging, social media, personal development, communication and marketing.
There are times when your training wheels are removed that you still feel unbalanced. During these times you may have family members or friends to support you. In life and business, you too have support. From time to time mentors offer guidance, or you may reach out to on and offline support groups. Just like when you learnt to ride a bike, support is never far away.
As a mum, teaching my children to ride was a challenge at times. I remember reminding my children to keep their focus. In reality, I was most likely shouting ‘head up, look straight, head up, look straight’, shouting this at them continuously as they wobbled and wobbled on their bikes, while I ran alongside.
Step 2 – Vision.
When cycling you need to keep your eyes focused straight ahead in the direction you are going. Not looking where you are going could result in crashing. Crashing into a tree, a person or even riding off the path.
Vision is required in life and in business too. Without a goal, you have no path to stay focused on. In fact like a child learning to ride, you may find yourself adjusting your focus and searching for clarity. Consequently, if it is clarity of vision that you seek, I wrote a post on three steps to create your future vision.
Related post: Why visualizing your ideal life is good for your future.
Step 3 – Fall
If you’ve had children, you’ll know as well as I do the tears and crying when they fall off the bike. However, with a helping hand to wipe away the tears they soon jump back on and try again.
Have you heard the saying ‘failing forward’? This is what you do when you fall in life or in business. There is no fail! Just like the invention of the light bulb. Thomas Edison said “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully discovered 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.”
The most important lesson you and I can learn here is if we fall, get up and try again.
Step 4 – Swerve
When out cycling you would seldom have only a straight path and no obstacles. There will be corners, junctions and people or items to serve around. As you serve on your bike you may go slightly off balance and need to adjust your speed, positioning or course. This is the same in life. Things come along in life that causes us to go off balance. Things like job loss, exams, illness, fear of the unknown.
I have found that I have had to readjust many times over. I’ve changed route due to obstacles. In some instances, I’ve gone back to putting on training wheels to overcome the obstacle. Learning new skills or relearning. Other times I’ve changed direction.
Last year, I changed direction away from university study for a while. I needed some time out to think about the degree and reasons I’m studying and how it was going to link to self employment. So, I paused university study and focussed on learning digital skills via an online education platform.
More often than not life changes with small adjustments, that accumulate. If these adjustments are positive it is great. If negative then you may fall, however with the help of friends, family mentors you can get back on track. It is possible to deal with obstacles in life and take back control
Did you ever ride your bike with no hands?
Step 5 – Skills
As a child there comes a time when you feel confident and you go for it. You let go of the handlebars and ride with no hands. A little hesitant at first, however with each try you gain more confidence. ‘Hej Presto, You can do it. You are cycling with no hands. Your cycling skills have developed and now you guide others.
Throughout life, you learn. You are always learning. You learn life skills. You learn job skills. And, you learn business skills. As you learn, you often pass on knowledge. Sometimes you are aware of the skills you are teaching other times you are not. Many times you are aware of the people you are guiding, especially when passing skills on to your children. However, the majority of the times you will not be aware of who you have influenced or blessed along the way.
You never stop learning and I’ve been finding that with learning the skills needed for a blogging business all the five steps of the cycling journey is needed.
Learning – learning step by step as you go, check this blogging course for beginners.
Vision – Keeping your eye on your goal
Falling – Making mistakes and trying again
Swerving – Readjusting the goal, going around obstacles, trying a new strategy
Skills – Realising that you have the skills and embrace learning, doing and teaching and in doing so enrich the lives of others.
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Angie blogs about setting goals and mastering habits as well as productivity and living abroad. She started blogging while learning the skills to start an online business. Her goal to work online came about due to wanting to see overseas family and travel around Australia. Her mission is to help others succeed with their goals. Angie often shares tips and tricks while walking the beaches or near the lake on the Central Coast NSW Australia.