These were the words told to me by my friend Danny Terceman. I wonder if he realizes that the simplest of phrases he tells me, opens up a new world of possibilities for me.
He was teaching me the basics of Parkour at a park every week or two and giving me a lot of tips. At the end of one session, we walked to his apartment building and before we went up the flight of stairs he asked me, “How many steps can you skip when going upstairs?” And I answered, “Like 2 or 3 at a time, I used to live in a 2 story house, so I could do it pretty easily.” Danny responded, “From now on anytime you have to climb stairs, try 3 steps at a time, then 4 and so on. No wasted opportunities, you know?”
When he mentioned that, a light bulb went off in my head. I realized that I could practice climbing upstairs anytime I encountered any stairs. In other words, I don’t have to set aside 20-30 minutes to practice, I could just do it spontaneously in between things I normally do anyway.
I’m very good at multi-tasking but this idea made me think a little more flexibly instead of compartmentalizing all the things I wanna do. I’ve followed his advice and after a few months, I could skip 3 stair steps consistently nonstop. I didn’t know it was going to be so difficult, but it’s awesome that I am progressing nevertheless.
Since those words were spoken…
I have applied this idea to a lot of other things! When I went traveling in Belize and Mexico, I wanted to get in the best shape of my life. For three weeks I was in walking distance of the 80 degree, turquoise-blue Caribbean Sea. I wanted to make full use of that amazing feature that doesn’t exist in LA so I went swimming in the open water everyday! I am so glad I did that as it helped reshape and transform me in ways that I couldn’t possibly do here (the ocean’s too cold and dirty in Los Angeles and swimming pools are very different).
Also when I was in Mexico, I used that opportunity to revive my Spanish! I downloaded as many apps as possible on my iPhone to remember the basics. That was great and I enjoyed it very much! However, when I returned to Los Angeles, I had an awesome realization. I realized that I could continue practicing my Spanish because nearly everybody that I interact with, such as my neighbors, cashiers, or the servers at the restaurants were of Latin American descent. So I’ve been ordering my food in Spanish and keeping my ears open to the language, as if I am still in Mexico. Although my Spanish is very weak, when they hear me striving to speak their language, they respond with smiles every time and it’s very comforting because I am really shy in these situations. And the best part about speaking Spanish in Los Angeles? If I don’t know how to say something, I could simply ask them in English since they know English as well. Isn’t that wonderful?
No wasted opportunities! I really understand what it means now. Thank you Danny.