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Use the power of 'so far' and 'not yet' when learning an MTB skill
When and how often do you say "I can't"?
3-minute introductory video:
Back in August, I wrote about how a stress-is-enhancing mindset can be beneficial. At the end of that post, I told how it helped me apply that mindset for my MTB-related skills presentation to a local Cub Scout pack.
My simple message to the Cub Scouts that day was that when you can’t do a skill at the desired level, don’t say to yourself or others, “I can’t.” Instead, say, “Not yet.” As I demonstrated each technical skill (slow fakies, nose pivots, etc.), I asked them if they could do that and then had them chant back in unison to me, “NOT YET!” I also showed them how, for each of those skills, there was a more advanced level that I couldn’t do yet. My lack of wheelie proficiency was particularly evident, as it took me three attempts to get a barely decent one of ten yards.
Chapter 29 of Seth Godin’s book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, is titled “So Far” and “Not Yet.”
Here’s the entire text of it:
You haven’t reached your goals (so far).
You’re not as good at your skill as you want to be (not yet).
You are struggling to find the courage to create (so far).
This is fabulous news. It’s been going on since you were a kid. Something isn’t there when you want it (or need it) but then it is. Persistent and consistent effort over time can yield results.
“So far” and “not yet” are the foundation of every successful journey.
And those journeys include learning a motor skill. One of my MTB goals is to get better at holding the launch trajectory for an intermediate-level tabletop jump. As I mentioned in the introductory video above, I’m currently able to hold the trajectory of the bike on the launch of a small table up until the rear wheel leaves the lip:
But I’m having trouble holding the trajectory a beat longer after the rear wheel leaves the lip:
Here’s a 6-second video clip of an attempt from earlier this month:
Here’s the trajectory of a young kid on the same jump that I mentioned in the introductory video above:
And here’s a 6-second video of his attempt:
I’m trying to apply the same “so far” and “not yet” mindset applies not only to several other of my MTB-related (e.g., wheelies) and non-related skills (e.g., dancing). And I have to remind myself that it’s also true for aspects of publishing this Substack and working on a few (only a few?) bad habits and character defects.
I welcome any feedback on how to learn/practice holding the trajectory longer. One recent hypothesis has proven helpful. I have another one that I want to test this week. (I’m getting better at deploying my curiosity—like a scientist.)
But I’m more interested in your current use of “I can’t:”
There’s likely a context for when you say “I can’t” vs. “not yet.” If so, consider adding an explanation with a comment.
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