I’m reposting this article, “Changing Gears: It’s not too late!”, with permission from John Henry of John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. While he’s applying the principle to business, I’ll be honest: I think it’s a useful metaphor for any effort that has you feeling stifled, stagnant, overwhelmed or even just confused. Try the task at a different time of day. Try it at a deliberately slower pace or standing on one foot. Hey, try it at breakneck speed if you think it will help. Put as much thought into it as you can. It’s exercise, see if you can’t enjoy it.
“I started riding a Schwinn bike when I was a kid. It was solid and heavy. It had a single ‘gear’. You could only go faster if you pedaled harder and more quickly. After going as fast as possible you could only coast.
In college, I bought a ten-speed Raleigh. I loved that bike.
Multi-speed bicycles have what’s called a derailleur, a variable transmission system. Automobiles have a wide range of gears in their transmissions — from 3 to 5 or or more.
These are installed to make sure the engine does not overheat if made to work hard.
On a bicycle, YOU are the engine.
The reason for gears are so that you can increase speed but not have to work so hard. Think about that.
In life, YOU are the engine and responsible for how fast you go and how often you switch gears. To get ahead, go faster and reach your goals easier, you must switch gears.
A lot of people are happily riding in a single gear. But when the hill is steep, it is almost impossible to take it in that medium happy gear.
Derailleurs allow you to downshift and make that uphill climb manageable.
In business happily moving forward in a medium gear may work for a while but to keep up you will have to work harder to get the same results due to a variety of factors.
Isn’t it time you switched gears?
Changing gears can be as simple as moving up in your office. Or starting your own firm. Or deciding that you would like to do something completely different.
What are your goals? How will you reach them?
Are you coasting through life? Are you just spinning your wheels?
Working smart is another way of saying you change gears.”
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