Episode 5: Stuck on a difficult skill? The difficulty is how the light gets in


That’s the distinctive voice of Leonard Cohen, a song called Anthem, from his 1992 album, The Future.

A guy named Peter Brown mentioned the refrain from the song at the end of an Art of Manliness podcast episode a few years ago. Peter is a co-author of a book that I’ve been reading called Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. Even though the book is based on years of research by several cognitive psychologists who were trying to understand what leads to better retention of new learning — research, sounds pretty dry, right? — it’s actually a great read because Peter’s not one of them. He’s a gifted storyteller that they brought in at the end of the project to write up the research findings so that average Joes and Janes like you and I would be more likely to find the results interesting and helpful.

Here’s Leonard Cohen singing the refrain:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in 

And here’s Peter Brown explaining that refrain’s relevance for him:

I would just like to say, I was very struck when Leonard Cohen the musician died recently, and I was re-listening to a lot of his music. He has this great stanza in one of his songs. He says, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” So when we’re out trying to find our way, and we stumble, instead of feeling like we’re losers, we got to say, ‘Ah, there’s some information I can use. There’s light there. There’s information, I’m going to use that.’” 

Hey, welcome to the MTB Practice Lab. I’m your host, Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer, and this is a show about learning how to get better at practicing mountain biking skills with a few detours on other stuff I’m trying to get better at.

This is episode 5 in which I tell you about my struggles to deal with my Be Good mindset as I try to learn to wheelie and some of the strategies I’ve started using to get more consistent with a Get Better mindset.

I’ve been learning that even with my overall Get Better mindset about learning to wheelie that I talked about in episode 4 — if you’re practicing right, progress is inevitable — there’s also a more granular mindset for me — and maybe you — that happens before, during, and after a practice session.

Here are six problematic examples of what my Be Good thinking tended to be early in April:

(CONTINUED: Full transcript, discussion, and feedback option on Patreon)

Show notes: