Every spring my family goes down to Florida to test our racing boats for the upcoming season. (I work for fun and race for a living!) The crew that goes spans three generations of the Hearn family. Since we spend a week testing and tweeking and testing some more, so we always reward the kids with a daytrip (or two) to Disney World.
I have always admired, even revered, Walt Disney. As we were walking through the park this year, I saw a sign with a quote from him that read, “Dream Builders: The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” I laughed to myself because as simple as this quote is, too many people get tripped up making this exact mistake (so I took a picture of it so I could remember it). Leave it to Walt Disney to say it in such a way that you feel like it comes with a smile and a complementary face palm. Doh! Stop talking. Start doing.
I didn’t think much more of it and the next day we resumed testing. As we tried various combinations of propellers and settings to maximize speed and acceleration, my son Grant said that he wanted to "step up" and take a shot at racing my class (B Stock Runabout) this season. It’s a big step. The boats are much more powerful and the speeds are significantly higher. More importantly, the drivers are very experienced. And most importantly, it is more of a technical drive (btw, Grant is 15 and that is the absolute minimum age for racing this class).
Grant started peppering me with questions on how to perform a "roll-up" turn, a crucial element to being successful in my class. It’s scary because you have to lean out of the boat to get it to turn on its side through the corner (which of course is also why it's fun!). I explained the technique in detail. He then asked the same questions again. Confused, I answered them attempting a bit more clarity. After the third round of questions and the same explanation by my father (his grandfather), I told him he just needed to go try it. (Unsatisfactory answer for a teenager!) He said, "you haven't explained it to me so that I know how to do it". So I asked him "how would you explain to someone how to ride a bike". After thinking, his said “Put your feet on the pedals and pedal.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I said "that's it, just put your feet on the pedals and pedal?" and smiled.
He understood and decided to try a roll-up in Disney’s "do-not-talk" mentality. Check out the video below of his final attempt. His first few roll-up turns are a bit choppy, meaning the boat isn’t making a smooth turn on its side but rather bounces up and down. Then he starts to get the hang of it, learning from his experience, and does much better as you can see in this video. My 30+ years of racing experience couldn’t teach him what his 30 minutes of ‘doing’ could.
Disney is right. Doing is the only way to start, accomplish, learn and eventually succeed. It’s obvious even enough for a facepalm, but we can all use a reminder sometimes.
Fail forward, RH