The Solution Lies Within


Following in the footsteps (so to speak) of my last post, The Learning Never Stops, I wanted to share another little trick I learnt a while ago. If you use a wheelchair, you might have figured this out already. If you don’t, mark it down as another lesson in learning; this time in the sense that sometimes, we’re already equipped with a solution to a problem; we just might not know it yet.

I travel a lot. I mean A LOT. At some point many years ago I discovered that you could push a wheelchair with just one hand and stay in a straight line by twisting your torso like a spring to keep bringing the chair back into line during and after each “push”. Not twisting of course meant going around in a circle. This discovery was especially important because it meant that I could now push a wheelalong suitcase in front of. Which is great, until you try and wheel downhill….

At first I tried finding a handrail to hang onto to slow me down, but quickly realized there wouldn’t always be one available. Then I tried carving turns as if skiing to lose speed, which was great when I had enough room. Try doing that down a jetway to board a plane…

That’s where I discovered the reversal of the twisted torso, maintain a straight-line trick…

With one hand on one wheel, and the other holding your wheelalong out front, you can twist your torso to counter the chair wanting to veer to one side. It’s not easy, you might feel like you’ve done 100 sit-ups after trying this, but it works. And again, it took me years to discover this. As far as I know, there is no “handbook for the newly disabled” that contains such trickery, but hey; if you’re reading this and use a chair, or know someone who does; now you know.

For the not yet disabled, here’s the learning for you:

I’m sure people have tried to engineer, perhaps successfully, all kinds of braking mechanisms to deal with this problem. They’ve tried to add something to solve the issue, when we actually already have the solution, we just may not know it.

As I’ve always said, we can’t find a solution until we look for it, and in my mind, the best place to start looking is with what we already have. Only when we strike out should we then look to add to solve our problems. Otherwise, we’re just overcomplicating things. 

If you do use a chair, and would find some value in seeing me do a video post about this, please do let me know. I know from re-reading this that it’s not really that clear on how to pull of the torso twist, and that a video may clear it up substantially.


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