August 2020

vintage bike crop

The Wisdom of Skinned Knees and Wild Horses

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve skinned my knee.

Back when I was a kid, it was an everyday thing.

My friends and I wore them like badges of honor. A skinned knee was proof that you took a risk and survived. The nastier the scrape, the tougher you seemed.

Two bloody knees made you the heavyweight champ.

I don’t see many skinned knees these days. 

Never seen someone come running into a conference room with torn pants, trying to catch his breath, saying, “You are not... going to BELIEVE... what I just did!”

That’s probably because people take different risks as adults.

As kids we flirted with disaster by popping wheelies, climbing trees and jumping creeks. Today we roll the dice by raising a family, building a career or launching a business.

The stakes are much higher, especially when it comes to work. If your job or business runs into trouble, it's probably going to take more than Bactine and a Band-Aid to make things better. 

Dealing with adversity isn't easy, but I think it helps to remember those painful lessons from way back when. All those scrapes, bumps and bruises? That was how we learned to become resilient.  

Resilience is defined as "the ability to recover quickly from difficulties." It's basically good old-fashioned toughness. Getting back up after you get knocked down. 

It's not some secret superpower. We all have it. 

Can you imagine living your life without resilience? Failing once at something and giving up on it forever?

There would be no inventions. History books would be awfully short. And I'd definitely still be single.

I can also guarantee that nobody would be riding a bicycle.

Remember learning to ride a bike?

If you were like 99.9% of kids, you fell down. Maybe shed a few tears. Skinned your knee.

But you got up and gave it another go. Probably fell again. More tears.

You repeated that whole up-and-down thing until you found your balance and made it all the way down the block. 

Maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know for sure. But if you know how to ride a bike today, I can say absolutely what did NOT happen.

You did not try once, fall down and stay down. 

You didn’t shrug your shoulders and say, “Well played, bicycle. You win. I will never get the hang of you. I walk everywhere from now on.”

That’s not how life works.

We try, we fail and then we try again.

People are resilient. We weather storms. We keep going forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what we’re facing these days isn’t like taking a Schwinn Phantom for a 50-yard joyride.

The stakes are much higher.

But that's why resilience is more important than ever. We're tough. We can do this. 

YOU can do this.

Resilience isn't magic.

You don’t need to be a genius. Einstein once said, “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”

You don’t need to be a Navy SEAL. One of their favorite sayings is that “you’re capable of 20 times more than you think you are.”

You don’t even need to be human.

Think about the Corolla wild horses during a hurricane. 

Even when a Category 5 threatens offshore, you never see them packing up and heading down the evacuation route. They find a safe place in the sand and stand their ground.

After 500 years they’ve learned that no storm lasts forever.

The bad weather always breaks.

The sun always comes out.

And there's nothing better than that day-after blue sky.   

Take care of yourself, take care of others and thanks for reading!



Larry Lombardi
Director of Economic Development


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