On Falling Down

IMG_3783Yesterday was my first day on a BMX bike... ever.

A French entrepreneur in Hanoi, Yoann Fauché, (representative for the 'internet over 2G' startup Be-Bound and co-founder of Uniity) let me practice a little on his bike. While experimenting with the basic mechanics I bloodied up my leg a bit on the pedals. BUT, I was so cool!

Today I visited Yoann's private BMX course. He's building a company AND transforming a banana field into a terrain park, which I think is pretty darn cool.

On the far side of the course was a rounded 'valley' that he had dug into the ground as a training jump. It's about 5 feet deep, and when you roll in with a little speed you conveniently pop out the other side with very little momentum. It was great practice for a newbie like myself.

When I saw the bigger jumps, however, I couldn't resist.

After taking a few practice runs on the 'valley' I decided to just go for it.

Luckily... a friend took a lot of pictures.

Luckily for you... the pictures are hilarious.

Nico The 'Pro BMX Racer'

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As soon as I saw these pictures I knew I had to put them online. I was laughing so hard, I had to share them with everyone.

These shots are hilarious, but there were two pictures that I didn't place in the montage above.

I didn't show them there because while that was the 'funny' section of this post, there was also a lesson I took away from my day of riding and crashing.

The first picture is here... It's a tad different than the ones above because I am falling down HARD. To sweeten the deal, I'm not wearing the typical BMX protective gear. (Gloves, elbow guards, knee pads, and a tough long sleeve shirt!)

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My hands are kicking up dust as they slide down the ramp, the bike is underneath me, and my torso is about to slam into the dry clay.

I really screwed up that jump, and now I'm gonna pay for it. Ouch!

When I flipped to this second picture, taken only a few seconds later, I smiled. I though to myself "Wow, there really is a valuable lesson here."

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I'm just picking myself up and I took a pretty big hit.

What I notice most about this picture, however, was something I didn't expect: my big, goofy grin.

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Most of us believe that when you fall down, whether it be in business, in relationships, or on a BMX jump, you're going to be sad about it.

Falling down is a bummer. It generally leads to excessive frowning and a good deal of 'licking your wounds'.

If you can avoid failing, you should. I mean, crashing into the dirt headfirst is a bad thing... right?

When I look at these two pictures, I see a completely different story. I'm not sad. I'm not frowning. To the contrary, I'm ecstatic, full of energy, and laughing!

My candid reaction to the fall is one of joy. I just pushed myself to the limit and bit off more than I could chew. I stretched myself. Hell Yea!

Every time I look at myself in the second picture I can't help but smile. I look so happy. I look so alive!

The lesson I'm taking away from today is that 'falling down' really isn't so bad as I anticipate it to be.

My reaction to this fall was a positive one. Maybe I should go a step further than just accepting falls... Maybe I should embrace them!

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Are there any areas of your life where you are afraid of falling? Are you avoiding these activities because of this fear?

What outcome, realistically, would take place if you did fall? Is it as bad as that initial feeling of dread makes it seem?

If have a story I know that the viewers here would love to learn from it. Please, write about it in the comments below to start a conversation.