Caveat lector. This isn’t directly about cycling and it is rather vague by design. These don’t happen too often. You’ve been warned.
The “unwritten curriculum”. It’s something we’ve all encountered at every level and type of education. When you go into 4th grade and Mrs Smith is teaching your class, you’re going to learn a lot more than fractions. While fractions, or cellular biology or whatever is on the curriculum is the intended focus, and hopefully you’re going to learn that, you’re also learning a lot that was never intended. You’re learning about the other people in the class. You’re learning social norms. You’re learning what teaching is, leadership, and about rewards and punishments by watching Mrs Smith and the others around you.
They’re the unwritten curriculum, because they’re not intentional. They’re things you learn merely because of the situation that you’re thrown into. It’s unlikely that you’re aware that you’re picking these little bundles of knowledge up, and it’s pretty certain that Mrs, Smith doesn’t realize she’s passing this on.
This isn’t limited to the classroom – it happens all the time. We are constantly picking up information and learning things without realizing it. These things we pick up influence how we respond in similar situations. After Mrs Smith’s class you’ve got certain expectations that you’ll carry forward into the next class.
The last few months have been a whirlwind: new bike, new team, new new team, kits, parts, coach, holidays, training, injuries, cold, races, schedules, sponsors. Lately, I’ve had a moment where I can step back and realize a few things. There is so much I didn’t know and still don’t know – the definition of ignorance. I realize now that in my naivete I picked up assumptions. I didn’t realize I was unquestioningly accepting others’ definition of how things are or are supposed to be. Just like the unwritten curriculum in Mrs. Smith’s class, those things I picked up were’t necessarily right, and aren’t necessarily useful. I didn’t see it happening and they had not intention of teaching.
I’m sure that I have probably learned many different things as a result of cycling. I’m not talking about what you’ll normally find in a post on here: nutrition, equipment, training, etc. I’m talking about the esoteric life lessons, social norms, self-exploration and understanding. These are the unwritten curriculum of my cycling world.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
by William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition. (NOT Goethe)
You may have seen the last two lines above. This is the full quote. It’s a call to move forward and take action boldly. I like it. I’ve done this. It’s an unwritten philosophy I live by and it’s certainly appeared in my cycling life. Doing bigger bolder rides, putting on the Boulder Ultra Cross, my involvement in a team – I have never felt qualified to do any of these things, but I wanted them to happen and made it so. Taking bold steps is the only way some things will ever happen; however, there is sometimes a cost.
Taking leaps means you’ll sometimes fall. I’ve made mistakes – lots of them. I did things I wasn’t supposed to and I’ve done things wrong. In all cases I was willing to pay the price. You really do have to be willing to risk being wrong. Seeing the risk, picking the line, making the call, and moving forward are all necessary if you want to make those bold steps and take a chance at winning a race or realizing your dreams. I get that.
The thing is…
The thing is, these assumptions, these things I accepted in the frenzy to make something happen no longer impacted me alone. When I move forward and act on my own ignorance – whether I stumble or succeed, I am usually the only one to deal with these consequences. (Well, in a galaxy far far away when I was guiding that was different. But that’s a tale for another day…). I’m in a different world now.
As an event promoter, and team member there are consequences that reverberate beyond my small world and impact others. I haven’t yet had any negative feedback (although I’m certain it is or will be out there), but I have had some positive. There is a sense of gratitude and pride in making things happen which brings joy to the lives of others. I’ll never forget one participant who came up and hugged me before the BUCX just because I made something happen that he had been waiting for for an untold amount of time. I realize the risks I take in my actions go beyond physical damage. They impact feelings, friendships and the dynamics of my team and friends. I loathe the idea of disruption in this realm of my life, but I accept the risk for the rewards don’t ever come without them.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anias Nin