Educational Reflection Essay Bikes

Essay Writing and Backwards Brain Bicycle

John | October 22, 2017

WritePass - Essay Writing - Dissertation Topics [TOC]

What Does Essay Writing and Backwards Brain Bicycle Have In Common

Essay writing is a must when you are going thru college. You have to write a lot to get through College, and if you want to go further with academia, you’re going to have to write a lot more than ever before.  The more you learn the more you’re going to have to write, and essays are never going to stop.  If you have a hard time writing essays, you may want to look into the Backwards Brain Bicycle by Smarter Every Day experiment by Destin.

You might be confused, I know, so let me explain.

Source: YouTube

You must be wondering what does Backwards Brain Bicycle have anything to do with Essay Writing.  Well, this Backwards Bicycle is going to help you understand a little better about how to write a first class essayOR dissertation. Well, by applying what you learn in this short 7 minute interesting and entertaining video, you will realize how we think one way,  but then this Backwards Bicycle helps you understand the reality and how to make adjustments according to your new reality.

So, why is it impossible to ride this Bicycle unless you practice daily?

To find this out, I encourage you to watch this short, but useful 7 minute video by Smarter Every Day.

Everyone Learns How To Write Just like a Bicycle

The thing about the Backwards Brain Bicycle is that it helps remember how things used to be.  In general, you know the expected outcome from your Bicycle.  For example, if you turn the handlebar to the right, you know it will turn right.  If you turn the handlebar to the left, you know the expected outcome which is that Bicycle would turn left.  In this experiment, Destin challenges himself by switching things up a little bit.

Essay writing in College is no different.  Even though you have been writing ever since you were a child, given the new challenge and Writing Assignments you will have to think differently. The same writing that you did early on in school or even high school is now seems much more difficult.

The reason why it gets harder to Write in College is because you have to relearn how to write in a certain manner. You may not get that at first glance, but things get a lot more progressive. This is where the Backwards Bicycle starts to show you the new world and how you need to get accustomed to new reality.

Backwards Brain Bicycle challenges you to learn how to ride a bicycle even though people claim once you know how to ride a bicycle you never forget it, but by changing things a little bit, you can see how this can quickly become a difficult task.  Writing in College vs. writing early on OR if you have gone for higher studies to another country is no different.  This new challenge is going to take some time to master.  So, how long does it take?

But what if you changed things up?

In this example, Destin the Engineer changed the Bicycle by switching the handlebars.  Now when someone would want to turn right, the wheels would need to turn to left and vice versa. That meant that riding this bicycle, you’d have to intuitively change how you maneuver.

You could not turn left, in order to turn right. It was a constant battle and it took this Engineer 8 months to learn how to ride this NEW Bicycle properly.

Meanwhile, quite interestingly this Engineer proved that when you don’t have to unlearn and relearn you can get this done much more quickly.  He asked his 6-year old son to ride the same exact bicycle and he could do the same thing in only 2 weeks.  That’s right, it took his 6-year old only 2 weeks instead of 8 months to ride the backwards bike.

Writing for College and adjusting to your new College lifeis no different as compared to writing early on in your childhood.

Writing Is Not Always Linear

When you write an essay, you may think that you have to write things out in a linear form. You start with an introduction then you write about the topic, and then you provide a conclusion towards the end. But that’s not always the case. As you learn how to write a College level essay, you may find that there are opposites that you need to work with.

For instance, you’ll need to write an outline. You cannot get anywhere without an outline. You need to focus on what you want to say, a thesis, and then structure it in a skeleton to write points about. If you do not do this, and you just rely on the knowledge that you had previously, you’re not going to go very far.

Writing an essay requires more than knowledge, it requires understanding. There’s a difference here that many students and adults do not get at first. You can write often, but if you don’t know how to illustrate your knowledge in a complex manner, writing long form, then you don’t really “understand” things.

Regardless of the topic, you’re going to have to have an understanding of the larger principles and information that you’re working with. The subject matter you are going to be writing about has to be engraved in your mind, and you need to illustrate that through writing which may include paraphrasing Essays.

The Bicycle itself, can be easy to learn, but if you switch the format of how to ride, your brain could cause problems as you’ll want to focus on the biases, and comfort zones of your memory of learning.

Writing Requires New Habits

The reason why children can learn things faster is because they don’t have biases, and they don’t have habits that are already formed through the practice and education attained through school. They are still learning, and therefore they will be able to mold into a new parameter of writing, and expression. Adults do not have that ability because they have a set standard they are following.

Many people that write essays have a certain style. They know certain formats, and stick to them. While many professors are akin to grade well in these endeavors, you will need to know more about how to change on the fly.

How to avoid plagiarism? What if the assignment requires MLA formatting? Then changes to Chicago Manual of Style? What if you’re supposed to write an essay that is about an opinion, or a review of a book or text of large quantities of information? What if you have to write something that is persuasive? These are all different types of essays, and if you’re only accustomed to writing using “one” style, you will falter.

Mind Over Matter

To change your mind, you will need to focus on a different form of learning. Instead of relying on what you already know, you have to refocus and readjust in way that might be difficult.

Essay writing is very much the same. Every new essay that you create, has to bridge the gap between yourself, the reader, and the academic lesson that you’re trying to convey.

Whether you’re writing for academic purpose OR writing for  your workplace, you have to focus on how the audience is going to use your information. You cannot just rely on the past methods, and structures. You’ll need to create a different path, much like the Backwards Brain Bicycle. T

The backwards bicycle worked out, but it took time to rethink and relearn the biases of the brain. That is the same as essay writing. The more comfortable you are with writing, the more you need to relearn and redirect.

If not, your writing is going to fall short, and end up too linear, which is not going to work while presenting complex ideas.


Tags: Essay Writing and Backwards Brain Bicycle

Category: Articles & Advice

For this week¿s Learning Journal, it would make sense for me to highlight my previous experience with teams, and my thoughts moving forward into the teamwork process. However, in keeping with Daudelin¿s reflective structure, I feel it would be more productive to highlight a more pressing problem this course is forcing upon me. Uncertainty is frightening. There is no way around that sentiment, and it is at the front of my mind as we head into the mikes bikes simulation and the rest of the course. Its easy for me to say that I would much rather have a distinctive assignment, test, and final exam structure where I can look up past paper questions and prepare methodically, however, that is not the case. And so I must quickly adapt to the new structure of the course. With that, I can identify the fact that a major problem for me going into the latter part of the course is that I am struggling to conceptualize and visualize the academic requirements without the traditional academic structures to grasp onto.

Our readings have constantly pointed out that there is a necessity for executives, and all business people, to develop broader frames of thinking and what Leonard, Barton, & Barton (2013) title ¿deep smarts.¿ I am beginning to understand that these are the kind of outcomes that a discussion based course will allow me to achieve. Like Daudelin (1996) from last week¿s readings, the optional reading by Leonard, Barton, & Barton (2013) highlight the importance of active reflection and the ¿logging¿ of reflective activities. I see now that it is important, not to know the specific theory that an executive may enact in certain situations (which is what traditional textbook based courses ¿inspire¿), but rather the frame of thinking which will allow any person to react logically, accordingly, successfully, but more importantly consistently when faced with challenging circumstances. We don't learn by knowing how to react when situations are placed in front of us, but more correctly, by testing the outcomes of our reactions throughout similar circumstances.

The Mikes bikes simulation, single player at least, has reaffirmed this point in my mind this week. I, foolishly, avoided the rollback button, feeling as though I would be cheating myself had I used it. I now realise that it was a tool to allow me to asses the way that I made decisions within the Mikes Bikes framework. Every rollback/over allowed me to meticulously change variables to see how they may affect the outcome of each financial year. Just like trying to break into a combination padlock, or guess a phone number, (i.e 1,1,1¿1,1,2¿.1,1,3¿etc) I was able to test how each variable and how it affected my results. My mistakes came when I tried to process a system, set of rules or algorithms that would allow me to dominate the simulation. This, of course, never occurred. A specific example I can give is when I had increased my SHV consistently over the course of 3 rollovers. Following what I had then determined as ¿rules¿ I rolled over once more, and found that I had slashed my SHV in half. How can this be? I followed the same systems that I had done that worked so well for the past three rollovers. Upon inspection I found that the simulated circumstances had changed dramatically, the people wanted different technical aspects for the adventure bike market. I had overlooked the entire concept of research and development, and found that the gradual shift in market interests had a dramatic effect on my sales after a certain point. Upon rolling back, I found that I needed to move two rollbacks to correctly alleviate the issue, but this resulted in cash flow and profit difficulties later on.

The point I am making is that set theories allow the illusion of certainty, but the broader frame of mind to understand how seemingly irrelevant ¿gears¿ fit into the machine will allow you to react accordingly to all situations, but more importantly to be prepared to react to all worse case scenario situations.

How am I going to translate logging my learning into mikes bikes? That's a whole different scenario. As I said, logging each decision is not a useful tool, as the circumstances are not predictable. If me and my team are going to take advantage of reflective learning to create deep smarts (Leonard, Barton, & Barton; 2013) then we must log our frame of thinking. Were we taking risks when a decision paid off? Did we work together or allow one member to take over when a failure occurred? Leonard, Barton, & Barton (2013) talk about observation, practice and performance. They explain that our experience is not something we draw on, but something that we guide and nurture in such a way so that it will be useful to us. If we can understand the meta-cognitive state within which we operate, I believe that we will be able to react with the correct decisions (given that we have had practice with the simulation.)

All in all, I relish the experience, I think I am going to enjoy the uncertainty, and learn some true entrenched decision making skills from it.


Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36---48

Leonard, D., Barton, G., & Barton, M. (2013). Make yourself an expert. Harvard Business Review, 91(4), 127--132.

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