“Easy” and “Safe”

It’s easy to confuse “easy” with “safe”.

This is the steep side of a climb near my house. It’s hard to see perspective in a photo, but it’s a 10-12% grade all the way up.

For non-cyclists, that means you’ll roll backward if you stop pedalling for a half second.

Just around the corner is the “easy” side. It’s a 6-8% grade. Hundreds of cyclists race the easier side every year (it’s a very hot segment on Strava.)

But the easy side has no shoulder.

The easy side has a lot of traffic–including a lot of big dump trucks, tired shift workers, and distracted cottagers with boats and trailers in tow.

The easy side looks safer…until you’re half way up.

Then you’ll have a close call with a car, realize that your safety is a mirage, and wish you’d taken the harder–but quieter–road.

Going to the gym seems risky. Sitting on the couch seems safe. Until you can’t bounce up off the couch like you used to.

Starting a business seems risky. Taking a 9-5 seems safe. Until you realize that your family’s welfare depends on the skill of that dumbass middle manager above you.

Investing in mentorship seems risky. Taking the time to figure it out yourself seems safe. Until, five years in, you realize you’re working harder for the same money. (That was me.)

Risk is necessary for progress.

Hard work erases most of the downside of risk.

Nothing beats the upside.

In the long run, the easy road is rarely the safest path.

If you’re not pedalling right now, you’re rolling backward.

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