Recently I was teaching my oldest daughter to ride her bike. She was very afraid that she was going to fall off her bike and somehow damage her body. Like me, she carries the belief that no pain = no pain.
As a fellow “no-painer”, I realized what my daughter was doing wrong. As her bike began to lean one way or the other, she would stare down at the ground where she was about to fall. As she stared at that point, her whole body fell into it and fulfilled her prophecy of impending doom. Instead of avoiding pain, she was focused on the thing that would cause her pain (the place she would fall).
Once I realized this, I told her to stop looking where she was about to fall and start looking forward. Once she started staring ten to twenty feet ahead of her bike, she was able to maintain her balance.
I think sometimes we focus too much on where we think things are falling and less on where we are headed. It’s easy to get caught up in the differences that knock us off-balance, but I believe we need to keep focused on where we would like to ride this cultural bicycle.
Where we would like our international relationships to develop is a question that most people may not even be asking themselves. We have become so worried about fixing short-term problems, which are throwing us off-balance, that we inevitably fall into the very problem we prophesied would come to pass.
I propose we assess what we want from the relationship and then think about how we would act and think differently if we wanted to actually achieve that relationship.
Most of us are good and wonderful people and if we are pointed in the right direction, we can learn how to develop a wonderful skill that will take us farther than we could have ever gone on our own two feet.