I'm No Mechanic

By Mike Johnson

I'm no mechanic.

Everyone knows it. I've been telling them for years.

A few bad experiences as a kid (never take the inner workings of your bicycle's rear wheel apart), a few well-chosen words of criticism from close family members, and sure enough, it became true - I'm no mechanic.

Twenty years later, I was still convinced.

That's why I buy $99 lawnmowers. Then when they break, like they always do on non-mechanics, I don't feel so bad about throwing them away.

Throw then away?! Hey why not? I can't fix them. I'm no mechanic, don't you know? So when they do break after a few years of mowings, I wheel them out to the trash, count myself lucky for the time we shared together and whistle off to Wal-Mart for a fresh one.

At least that's what I used to do.

Until the day I pulled the starter rope and it broke off in my hand. Well darn!, I yelled, just in time to watch the remaining rope suck back into the inner recesses of the motor, disappearing forever.

Another 99 bucks down the drain...MARGIE - it's time to get a new lawn-mower...

And then I rolled it over to the trash can. Wait a minute here, I stopped. If I'm chucking it anyway, why not take the darn thing apart and see how it works? What's the worst that can happen? Won't 50 pieces throw away as easily as one?

So I began fiddling. And fiddling. And discovered a big spring under the motor's cover that automatically rewinds the rope after you pull it. And got a new piece of rope. And slowly rewound it. Like a caveman grasping the concept of a rolling wheel for the first time, a dim vision of the rope's rewind mechanism started to form in my non-mechanical brain. I fought off the thought that this mess that used to be a motor looked remarkably like the inner workings of a rear bicycle wheel.

But this must reassemble some way. A man built it, so a man must be able to put it back togeth...and surprise of surprises, there it was reassembled!


The rope, which should've pulled with tension, couldn't wait to leap out into my hand. Fully extended, it lay there spent, refusing to rewind.

Yep. Shoulda known, I'm no mechanic.

Since there was no pressure on me to succeed - the mower was already a goner in my mind anyway - I continued looking at it. Hmmmmmm...I thought, squishing my forehead with the palms of my hands. I wonder if I turn it around...


"WHAT'S THAT?!" Margie screamed, running outside. What she saw amazed her. Not her man - who was standing victorious, one foot on the purring red machine, grinning proudly, chest pushed out like some Neanderthal who'd just felled a woolly mammoth - but by the running lawnmower. This was impossible. After all, she knew I was no mechanic, too.

Grass never cut better. Had the neighbors been watching, they'd have seen the world's greatest lawnmower repairman skipping behind his Briggs & Stratton.

Granted, I didn't make the six o'clock news that night. But the lawnmower success was certainly the lead story of my day. I'd done something I couldn't do!

And that is the thrill of self-improvement. Pushing against a barrier we've lived within our entire lives and discovering it falls right over! Learning that it had never existed in the first place! It was only my belief of being non-mechanical that caused me to surrender to all those broken lawnmowers without ever trying to repair them.

All at once an entire world of lawnmower repairs opened before me! And any other mechanical devices. Let me at 'em! My world expanded just by challenging a belief.

What other beliefs do we hold that shrink our worlds? Bad speller? Not athletic? Poor memory? Never get rich? Can't lose weight?

Behind every activity we shy away from stands the ogre of a limiting belief.

The magic of self improvement is that we don't need to gain additional skills, we merely need to remove beliefs that limit us! Just believing that we might be able to do something starts us down the path to its achievement. Suspend our disbelief and there's NOTHING we can't do!

When it comes to self-improvement, we're all qualified to repair our lives.

Take it from a mechanic.


Mike is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz