The Try Cycle

I've been thinking a lot lately about my life philosophy. Probably brought on by my advanced age, lol. The thing is, I actually have one. My family lovingly refers to it as the "tricycle philosophy" not just because of the little play on words, but because it's essentially born in our childhood. 


When we were little, we had no problem living this "try cycle" but at some point we began to experience push-back at one or all steps in the cycle. Probably about when we stopped riding our trikes, we stopped TRYing.


My trycycle philosophy began when I was nineteen, with a bit of wisdom from my mom. On her deathbed, she produced a poem, Risk (Anonymous) and asked for it to be read at her funeral. The poem essentially boils down to that old adage, "'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." My mom said she felt she had risked nothing in her life, and as a result had nothing but regret. 


That was just so...well, heartbreaking. I did not want to end up like my mom. I wanted to be happy, and I'm honestly not sure if my mom ever was. 


Anyway, from then onward, I vowed always to take that chance, to risk—embarrassment, loss, whatever—so that I could never look back and say, "I wish I had..."


The thing about taking a chance is that it can't be done half-heartedly or else you can't really say you tried. Just like our first ride on our trikes required more of us than just running up to the shiny new toy and sitting on it. That isn't risk. You have to peddle the darn thing. Hard. You have to push, and push and push because in case you don't remember, tricycles aren't as easy to ride as you'd think they'd be. :P


I used to be the worst possible housekeeper ever—at least until I discovered Fly Lady. If you're not familiar with her home management philosophy, it boils down to "You can do anything for fifteen minutes." As a new mom to a troubled little foster boy and a pair of newborn twins, I embraced her philosophy with gusto—and actually became a decent housekeeper. Huzzah! 


I started to apply this methodology to my risk belief, which meant that even if I was scared to try something new, to take a chance, I told myself that I only had to start. I only had to try for fifteen minutes. I started to think of myself as the Try Lady. Har har.


And then came the last piece, the third wheel of my own little try cycle—resilience.


Because if you don't stick with a thing until you've applied all your effort, you can't really say that you've tried. It's not enough to try for fifteen minutes, fail, and say you gave it your best. Nor would it be practical to never try again because if we did that every time, we'd simply never accomplish anything. 


Like I said, a tricycle is not easy to ride. At least, not those old metal ones like I had as a kid. The wheels stuck. It was impossible to steer. And even though they weren't supposed to, they fell over when confronted with a rock or a curb. Heck, they could fall over if you got up to a decent speed. 


But if we gave up the first—or thirtieth—time we encountered difficulty, we'd have never moved on to riding a two-wheeler!


No, we learned way back then to be resilient. Resilience; it's one of my most favorite words. Webster's says it's the ability to easily recover or adjust to misfortune or change, but I don't think easy has anything to do with it. I think you can be resilient, even if it takes you a beat to get there. 


But resilient we must be. 


Without resilience, we become stationary. Static. We wouldn't accomplish anything at all. 

We need to be resilient in order to take a chance again. To try again. 


And voila—the Try Cycle. 


Three steps, to be repeated over and over again, to create a life you will be glad to have led. 

Annnnndddd...thank you for coming to my keynote address, lol. I hope this inspires you a little bit!


💛 ali

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You've seen my descent.
Now watch my rising.
~ Rumi