Updated: Apr 21
For an easy-to-recall task, the saying goes that “it’s like riding a bike”. Once you master the simple skill-set needed to ride a bicycle, you can pick up where you left off, no matter how long it’s been since you last rode one.
If you found a bike lying in the street not fixed to anything, there would be nothing stopping you from taking that bike and riding it as you could with any other bike you have used before. If you needed to go somewhere close by, it would certainly have the capacity to get you to your next destination.
Some of us choose to live our lives like this. We master a simple set of skills and this set of skills becomes the framework for our lives. All people who have completed a university degree know how to study and learn. All people with longstanding jobs know how to work with people, engage in a team and meet basic requirements to satisfy their job description. If we moved to a different job, we would be able to transfer these skills to another context – just like riding a bike.
Riding a bike is a good skill to have, but it’s nothing remarkable. It’s hardly something you would put on your resume or your LinkedIn profile. I was never taught how to ride a bike until I was eight years old – I was the laughing stock of all the boys in my class. You could even say that society expects you to have this skill as a minimum standard for self-directed locomotion.
Anyone can live a “bicycle life”. What if your life wasn’t meant to be lived like that? What if your life could be lived more like…let’s say… a Ferrari?
I can hardly call myself an expert in the realm of Italian luxury sports cars, but I do know enough to establish that driving a Ferrari is not like driving a standard, run-of-the-mill car. Instead of a gearstick, you may likely have paddle shifters; functions such as indicators, lights, wipers and reverse gear are generally controlled by buttons on or near the steering wheel. Mastering these changes requires knowledge, practice and perhaps some teaching from an expert.
Alex Robbins, Consumer Editor for The Telegraph, published an article in 2015 detailing his first Ferrari driving experience:
“I start to get the hang of it; what’s needed is a recalibration of the mind, arms and hands to compensate, and once I’ve got that, the razor-sharp response the system offers is really quite special.
What if we had the Ferrari the whole time, but simply needed the knowledge, practice and coaching to use it? Why would we be wasting our time furiously pedalling through life on our bicycle?