follow your interest to success

Sheer Willpower and Intellect: “Mick”

It seems to me that people give too much credit to traditional or “academic” learning.  There is nothing wrong with it.  In fact, it’s a fine way to learn, however, at Intrinsic, people engaged in self-directed learning is my focus.  I spotlight interesting, passionate and individualistic people in short documentaries.  I feature people doing physical activities who must, by virtue of their obsession, teach themselves how to do them because there isn’t a class.

Up until this post, I’ve been featuring my own video profiles.  (I am currently working on another one which takes a lot of time to produce and to edit.)  Meanwhile, the video below, “Mick,” is the property of Perception Northwest.  It is an excellent profile and I was given permission to embed their video on my blog for which I’m very grateful.  Find more of their work at their Vimeo site.

Anyway, follow the journey of “Mick,” a guy obsessed with becoming the World Record holder for being on a bicycle for the longest time in the world.  Despite a stolen bike hours away from achieving his goal, he…

Watch the 4 minute and 46 second movie and find out what happened.  Then discover what I think he learned.


In the video, Mick’s obsession might be considered foolhardy.  People may not have considered the skills Mick needed to make a world record.  When I first thought about it, it was obvious to me that Mick was a kinesthetic learner, which means that he learns by using his body.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized other things he learned on his own.

Readers might call my assessment a stretch or comment that he’s learned what anyone who has ever ridden a bike has figured out.  But I want to give Mick “extra” credit.  The degree to which he worked was way more extensive given his feat.

Sheer willpower definitely played a role in getting Mick into the Guiness World Book of Records, but he acquired critical-thinking, math, and science concepts as well.  Here are but a few examples:

Mick would have used inductive reasoning to calculate a plan about out how to be on a bike ’round the clock, including in the shower or on the pot.

He would have used the formula:  rate equals distance multiplied by time in order to arrive at his workplace on schedule via his bike.

Out in the world on his bicycle, he would have encountered inclines and navigating them on his mini bike would have involved an understanding of the physical principals of gravity, balance, lift, curve, inertia, and motion.

As a human on a moving object, Mick may have figured out Newton’s first law of motion which states:  “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

When Mick sat upon his mini-bike, he would have assessed where to position his body.  He had to find the “best spot” because the bike was like a lever and he had to avoid a see-saw effect of being tossed off of it.

He would have needed keen perception skills in order to navigate his bike in the city.

As far as developing mechanical skills, Mick would have learned not only how the axis, peddles, brakes (levers), etc., worked, but he probably learned how to repair parts and how to improve upon them.

When it rained, he probably noted that the wheel of his bike was like a pump, shooting mud up his backside.

Surely the maneuvering of his body in and out of bed sheets, for example, gave him an idea about the true meaning of “wedge” a physics concept.

In all, Mick’s life became purposeful and meaningful as a result of his endeavor.  Whether he knew all of that before he began, surely he reinforced his understanding and discovered his weaknesses simply by being on a bike the longest, ever.

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think Mick learned?

BTW:  do you think it’s interesting to consider the learning that has occurred in a profile or is it a waste of time for me to interpret the learning?

5 Responses to “Sheer Willpower and Intellect: “Mick””

  1. Beauty Along the Road

    I love your interpretation/analysis of Mick’s accomplishment. Can’t say I “understand” why anyone would care to do what he did but I do understand setting and tenaciously following a goal and hanging in there until it’s completed (raising a child is an example that takes at least 18 yrs to accomplish; getting a Ph.D. in my case took 8 yrs of grad school; being a life-long learner takes, well, a lifetime of commitment!

    • Kristin

      Hi Annette,

      Wow, 8 years of grad school. That is dedication and perseverance.

      We seem to be on the same wavelength with regard to being life-long learners.

      I enjoy your perspective and I feel fortunate to have connection with you via blogging.

  2. wewerenothing

    Did you ever read the book, Outliers? It talks about all these different ways of learning. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

      • wewerenothing

        The author is Malcolm Gladwell. Really makes you think about i.q. and how it is measured and what it really means.


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