Assumptions, Determination, and PQT

I went out for a ride (bicycle) today … the first time this season. For those of you who don’t know me, you might be thinking, “Surely there have been days nice enough to ride before today, May 11th.” Well, I’m a California wimp … that means if it’s colder than 50-something then I’m still doing spin classes inside. But it was beautiful today when I walked outside. So I scurried around and got ready … hitting the road at around 8:30.

Now, I’ve been looking forward to this season because I’ve dropped a few lbs and I wanted to see how different riding would be. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how good I felt as I took the turn and started out into the country. I looked down and I was doing 16 mph … a little later I was doing 18 mph … downhill I even got up to 23 mph. “Wow!” I thought, “This is going to be a great season.” I was clipping along and all of a sudden, about 10 minutes into my ride the thought hit me … those of you who live here in the mid-west have already guessed … “Oh, no, I’ve got a tailwind. Shoot!” No wonder I was averaging 18 mph … way past last year’s 12-13 mph. I still assumed, though, that it was just a little breezy, no biggie for a cycling studette like me – Assumption #1.

Assumption #2 – I felt great, so why not go a little further? I know, I know …. But after all, it only took 15 minutes to get to the tower (usually 30 minutes from the house). Just how bad could it be on the way back? Well, I decided to ride to the Gables – a trip that normally takes 45-50 minutes – and I made it out there in 30 minutes … still in la-la land, thinking, “I’ll just ride easy on the way back.” Uh, oh … my assumptions were taking me down a road I was not going to like … I found out as soon as I turned around just how different the ride home was going to be. I checked the weather conditions a couple of minutes ago and it says that the wind is blowing 16 mph. Sheesh! Darn those assumptions!

Well, there I was, at least an hour away from home, so I went head-down butt-up and determined to make the best of this training ride. I’m always being told that riding into the wind is like doing hills … I don’t like hills. I was into my rhythm about a 1/2-hour later, knowing that I could do this … after all I’d done it before … just not usually by myself. Still I was determined to push through and meet my goal: getting home without having to call someone to come get me. 🙂 Anyway, I look in my mirror (clipped to my helmet) and saw what seemed to be another rider quite a ways back. A couple minutes later, he’s much closer … then even closer … then … he passed me like I was sitting still. Well I kind of was sitting still – doing about 10 mph … but it was into the wind. He didn’t even offer to let me draft – of course he was doing the 15+ mph that I was doing with the tailwind. Oh, well. I put my head down and kept peddling, trying to keep my heart rate out of the red zone. Finally, I made it home – 23 miles, 1:35 min. But still able to walk and talk, and happy that I’d overcome my assumptions with my determination.

So why am I sharing all this? Well, first of all, I had a lot of time to think while riding back into the wind. And second, I’m always looking for lessons in what I’m going through. I don’t think that life is arbitrary, nor is it something that I just let happen to me. So as I was riding, I was reminded of the messes we can get into with our assumptions. And too many times, we put our heads down and determine that we will get through whatever situations our assumptions have put us in – frequently to the detriment of those around us.

Here’s my challenge:

  • Try to identify assumptions early
  • Work at making sure that your determination isn’t blowing someone else out of the water
  • Employ the PQT

PQT, the Prior Question of Trust, asks, “Is what I am doing, thinking, or saying building or undermining trust?” As a graduate student at Biola University, I learned about PQT from Dr. Marvin Mayers in Personal and Interpersonal Adjustment, a course in the School of Intercultural Studies – as a student and as a TA for 2 years. PQT enables us to enter into relationships and situations more fully aware of our assumptions and helps us better modulate our determination. So as you move through life over the next few days and weeks, ask yourself the PQT. And if your response to it is negative, stop for a moment and reflect on what your assumptions might be. Then make sure that in your determination to meet your goals you’re not running over someone else.

I’m ready to go out again … first I need a nap.

Lesson learned:

Don’t run with the wind if you’re not willing to have it fly in your face on the way back. Or … when the wind is blowing from the south, ride to Danvers. Cheri – 1 … Wind – 1.


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