The anatomy of a mistake and the response

I made a mistake today.

We love biking outdoors and take our bikes on a bike rack. I’ve done this many times over the past couple of years with no issues.

Today, I wanted to take 3 out of the 4 bikes for a tune up. Out of habit, I put the 4th bike in as well. It is newer and didn’t need a tune up. So I did find myself wondering why I was doing it. I ignored that impulse and put it on the rack.

Except I didn’t. I fastened the back wheel but didn’t fasten the front. A complete miss.

As we started driving, I noticed the bike jump as we went on a speed bump near our place. My instinct was to stop the car and check. But this had happened before and we were going to stop in 5 minutes anyway. So I ignored that instinct. A miss.

It ended up falling off the stand somewhere on the way and we ended up with damaged brakes and a flat tire. On a new bike that didn’t need to be on the journey.

An unnecessary mistake that was both expensive and stupid.

A few reflections –

(1) I start by being harsh (terming these kinds of mistakes stupid/moronic) and then remind myself to be kind. I find this middle path to be productive as it channels the emotion from the harshness into a constructive, forward looking, learning.

(2) Listen to your instincts. Especially in situations where we’re better safe than sorry.

(3) It is so much easier to break stuff vs. build.

(4) It could definitely been much worse. If this had been an adult bike, the damage could have been a lot more. Similarly, if the frame was affected, the bike would have been irreparable.

(5) Consciousness and focus in our daily activities matter. It helps to be present.

(6) It is a huge consolation that it is a problem that can be solved with money vs. a health problem for example.

(7) There’s a very positive philosophical idea that any bad thing that happens just helps prevent something worse. :-) It helps ensure I’m internalizing the learning and moving on with that tinge of positivity.

(8) There’s so much to learn from our experiences in life. Reflecting on a mistake like this one never fails to drive that home.