The Art of Falling

Falling is a normal part of life. By falling, you learn to get better at what you do: sport, work, or your daily life challenges. Mastering the Art of Falling is an essential part of life. By falling, you are forced to get up again, pick up the pieces of bones, worries, disappointments, or tears.

I’m sorry if my intro sounds a little dramatic, it’s meant to be, as falling hurts, it can hurt a lot. The essence of falling is how we decide to recover from it. Why am I writing about falling? Well, I’ve been falling a lot lately, in my personal life, in business and even physically (‘ll get to that soon).

You may have noticed I’ve not once mentioned “failing.” Failing is something entirely different. If you fail, you have given up and decided not to try to recover from your fall. My recent falls haven’t been pleasant, yet, they have made me stronger to tackle my present and future, even though the future is uncertain due to these falls.

So what happened?

Are you ready? Okay, let’s get into it. Be warned, it’s a bit of a shocker.

Motorbike Crash.

Two days ago, I had my first ever motorbike crash. I’ve been riding big bikes my whole life, from a Harley Fat Boy to KTM Supermotard, Cross Bikes, and now in Bali, these super-powerful 155cc scooters. These boys can reach speeds of 120kmh (75mph).

Every man and his dog (literally, the dogs ride on the bikes in Bali too), rides a scooter, and many of them are these big beasts. Everyone drives too fast, especially now during the pandemic. The streets are almost empty, whereas they are usually jammed with traffic.

Next, there are no speed limits and thus no speeding fines, even in the small villages. On top of that, though helmets are obligatory, many riders (many foreigners included) don’t wear helmets and even ride topless. That’s a form of stupidity and ignorance I haven’t gotten my head around. To top it all off, many people ride these bikes without driving licenses. None of the above helps road safety.

The bottom line, riding bikes here is fun but bloody dangerous. Want to know the statistics?

Here you go:

The official number from the provincial Traffic Police is that there are about 1,500 deaths in traffic annually in Bali. 80% ( 1,200 people) of those deaths are motorbike users.

Quora.com

It’s a big problem the local government should start addressing, by, for example, introducing speed limits, radar, speeding fines, as well as cracking down on the helmet law. Why do other countries have these things in place? Well, some would say to restrict and collect money, but the reality is, road traffic has to be regulated for everyone’s safety. If some sort of regulations are put in place, the following will happen.

  • Fatalities will be greatly reduced
  • Severe injuries cut in half, at least
  • Riders and drivers will show more respect for each other
  • The local government will have a new income stream from traffic offenders.

I know many Bali lovers (and I am a huge Bali lover) will cry out, nooo! That would be changing the nature and free-living spirit of Bali! Well, I will disagree with this argument, because I believe respect and caution on the streets is paramount, and protecting lives in Bali is the most important thing all of us who love the island can do!

My crash:

I was waiting to pull out of a store’s parking lot, turning right into the left lane. I waited, looked right and left several times for 15 seconds (left-hand driving here). When there was a big enough gap I pulled out, onto the middle line divider, and into the left lane.

At this point, I was traveling at around 15kmh, when I suddenly saw a bike heading frontally at me. The rider drifted over the middle line and crashed directly into me like a bullet train, traveling at around 70kmh. I was going too slow to swerve out of the way, and this guy (a kid without a license) wasn’t looking forward and didn’t realize he took direct aim at me until it was too late.

On impact, I’m thinking shit this can’t be happening, and damn, please save me! Next, I’m in the air, falling left, I see my right leg and knee bleeding. I grab the knee with my right hand and brace. On the impact on the ground, I managed to roll and protect the leg from further damage.

My right knee is damaged from old skiing accidents, with a full titanium knee replacement holding it together. Breaking the knee would’ve been an absolute disaster, as it wouldn’t be possible to repair easily, and considerable costs and pain involved.

Like a miracle, I rolled to a stop, checked my leg; it was straight, only with some cuts and bruises visible. My reflex and instinct, plus a heavy dose of luck, saved my life. And, of course, my experience in falling and getting up again, too, something that skiers have to be good at.

As a former Olympic skier, I used to fall fast and hard, frequently. That taught me the art of falling hard, physically.

I survived, and I’m forever grateful for that. The other guy had next to no injuries, just small cuts. We both went to the emergency room, where I paid for both our treatment.

Life’s Challenges.

Also, I’ve had my fair share of unfortunate problems come my way in the last six months. It all started with getting married far too quickly, and not getting to know the person I married well before I committed. That was my mistake, and being 50 years old, I should have known better. Now, we are having problems that appear to hard to solve. Thus, divorce is looming.

The COVID pandemic has made people even more crazy than usual, or maybe I should say more irrational. Not a lot makes sense these days, but I believe as long as we are honest, have ethical values, respect and are kind to each other, all will work out in the end, no matter how crazed some can be!

God help me that I’m right with this one!

Slowing Life Down is the Answer.

I’m a super active person, sometimes I can be hyperactive, and that can get me into trouble. I make decisions too quickly, I trust people too easily, and then I get disappointed, or even worse.

I learned a precious lesson from a gentleman called Mark Sisson, who is the author of The Primal Blueprint. The lessons you can learn by reading his book are nothing short of phenomenal. Slowing Life Down is one of his ten laws. I took note and slowed my life down a lot back in 2017, which helped me recover from severe depression, and got me back on track with a new life, and a happy life again.

The problem with the “slowing down your life” notion is, you take your eye off the ball and forget. Then, before you know it, you’re back in the fast lane, and the accidents happen. Thanks, Mark Sission, for helping me find my health in body and mind, as well as a new life again.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank two other people in my life, my father and mother. They both put up with a ridiculous amount of antics throughout my life, to the point I think most parents would have cut me loose. But, they didn’t, they both stood by me through thick and thin and have both made me a much better person today. Thank you, parents.

And because of Mark and what I learned from him, my life mission is to, first, look after myself to make sure I’m okay, then help as many people as I can world-wide to be healthy, happy, and prosperous.

We all fall, almost every day, just make sure you get up again, collect the pieces, learn the lesson, and move on with your head held high! Because you are great! We all are great!

I wish you all a beautiful Sunday, and never stop believing in yourself, because you are great!

Rob Hourmont

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