I was in a bit of an accident the other day involving my bike and a pedestrian.
We both were okay, and as terrible as it is to go flying off your bike I was relieved that my first crash had minimal damage. I continued to ride my bike for over a week before realizing that the handle bars were completely off kilter. I was adjusting so much for their crookedness I was basically riding sideways down the street. The funny thing is, I only noticed because I took a few days off from riding my bike and it’s when I went back to it that it became obvious that something was wrong. In fact I’m constantly amazed at how quickly our body compensates for weaknesses that arise.
When I was fourteen I injured my knee, and before the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was reported, it was impossible to tell what exactly I had done since during the Lachman test, a hands on examination of the knee, my hamstring muscles kicked in over gear and acted in direct opposition, basically making up for the lack of stability in my knee ligaments.
Once all the information was gathered, and it was surmised what the best option was, I began two years of my body constantly making up for what it had lost. I was also given a beautiful new knee-brace, and picked the shade “green with envy” with thought out love.
Post-surgery I remember having to re-learning everything I once knew.
Kneeling was a particularly painful experience, and the only way I could hold the position was by exerting all my upper-body strength to hold my weight on my arms, and gently lower my knees until they touched the ground. Walking up stairs was challenging as well, and if I was exceptionally tired I would manually lift the encumbering load imagining myself to be a cyborg malfunctioning.
Yet throughout all this time, I was astounded at how I could reprogram my muscle memory.
I taught myself to lead with my right leg instead of my left until my cartwheels and back walkovers looked natural again. I also focused attention on my weakest joints, because if I didn’t the major muscles would take over and though it would enable me to accomplish my goal, I wasn’t really strengthening my limitation. I think this is the main thing I learned from my knee injury, and I use this principle constantly.
It’s easy enough to concentrate on what we're good at and brush our failings under the rug, but by doing that we’re hurting ourselves in the long run, much like riding a bike that’s broken. The thing about personal weaknesses, is we can be the only one aware of it. A charismatic person may struggle with shyness, and a big talker can suffer from low self-esteem. If we only ever changed what it is obviously lacking then what are we left with but a polished exterior and distortion inside?
I like to think that attention to details in our lives has a ripple effect on our actions; small alterations can become the most visible part of us that others see. Of course this isn’t to advocate for excessive concentration on minute details such as evenly separated eyelashes, since taken to the extreme we can become self-absorbed and unduly critical of others, but if our energy is spent on worthwhile adjustments I can only see it as changing ourselves for the better. Often times it seems people are content with just living with their shortcomings and don’t take the time to change them. I can understand why, but think its best if we take our shortfalls and fortify them up. This way we’re addressing the problem at hand, and in case an accident were to occur, we have the ability to compensate for where we lack.