MindPower and the Motorcycle

In the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Penn, my boyfriend, a second year law student and I drove up to stay for a couple weeks at his vacation property in rural Vermont. It was a sprawling farm with open fields and forest. One afternoon, we took his motorcycle out to the field. I got on the back and we took an exhilarating ride through the grass and wildflowers. Then, he stopped. We both got off. He said to me,”Would you like to give it a whirl…solo?”

I’m not much of a techy and have always felt some resistance to electronics and machines. In fact, I didn’t even have a driver’s license at the time. Seeing me hesitate, he said,”Come on. It’ll be fun. Just go slowly. It’s just us. You’ll be fine.”

So, I thought, “What the hey,” summoned my courage and got on the thing. He showed me what to do, and I did it. I was off, flying free on this big machine. And I was doing fine…until a fleeting through crossed my mind, “What if I lose control?” So guess what happened. I did exactly that. The bike careened toward the edge of the field, which was bordered by woods. I went over the handlebars and into a tree. No serious harm to me and none to the cycle. Just a bit of a head bonk, which also hit me with a realization. I had internalized the lesson of “I think I can” at the age of five, from that amazing Little Engine book. This experience taught me that the converse is also true. If you think you can’t, you can’t. These two related principles have helped me navigate many fields!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t -you’re right.”
-Henry Ford

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