Lessons Learnt from Being Mugged

Everything in my life is a learning experience. What some people label as good or bad, I label “it is what it is”. So in writing this, I do so to share some things I have learnt (or have been reminded of) having gone through this experience. I do not seek sympathy, but rather wish to share this experience hoping there is value in it for others.


If you’re first plan doesn’t work, be flexible and agile to change it and repeat as often as necessary

Plan 1:

When I realized that the two guys where not just pedestrians that I ordinarily passed on that stretch of road, my initial thought was to swerve around the guy blocking my path. After seeing something in his hand that my mind assumed was a knife (I still don’t know), I had to quickly do a pro’s / con’s list of what my actions may result in.

Riding past may result in a knife to the body, something that was not an option. Plan 1 scratched.

Plan 2:

I knew his partner in crime was somewhere behind me (as I’d seen them both as I was riding towards them). I slammed the brakes, almost going over the handle bars. I knew I could not go forwards or backwards, but noticed a gap to the side between a tree and the wall of a house. The only exit (that I could see at that time) to the footpath I knew I needed to get to that would lead me around the nearby houses and give me a running chance.

The gap was partially blocked by a smaller bush, but was unsure how thick or strong it was. It was my only option. I can’t fully recall whether I tripped over the bush or lost my footing as I stepped off the curb, but ended up stumbling to the ground. I did not know how far behind they were to me and what they would do if they caught up. I realized escaping was not an option. Plan 2 scrapped.

Plan 3:

Before they caught up to where I was, I started pleading to take whatever they wanted. Whatever it was they were after, I would be a very obedient victim and give them whatever they wanted. Self-preservation at the top of my list. They took everything I had on me, emptied my pockets and took the bag off my back. Plan 3 working, not getting any resistance or giving them any reason to cause any injury.

Plan 4:

While lying on the floor having my items repossessed, I realized I would have nothing on me and would be left to find a way back to work. In a last attempt to find some sympathy from my ‘agents of personal repossession’, I pleaded that they give me my keys. These are not of value to them, but would help me to either get back home or get into the gym when I get there. Either in their single-mindedness to get what they want, or complete ignoring of my plea, I did not get my keys. Plan 4 failed.

Attitude of gratitude goes further than anger & frustration

After standing up from the floor, looking back as they ran off with my bike and other ‘valuables’, I had a huge rush of gratitude come over me. A thankfulness of being alive, uninjured (other than a few scratches from falling on the road) and ability to continue doing what it is that I do during my day.

Knowing that I may see my wife and kids when I get home later that day, that I can head back to work and do the things that I love and that I hadn’t really lost anything, but was spared a lot.

Life is more important than things

As I was walking the rest of the way to work, I could not be happier that my things were taken and my life and health was spared. If I were to go through the process again, I would be willing to give even more ‘valuable’ things away for the same end result.

Linking my happiness or value in those stolen things is useless and was reminded again how important life and health really is.

Don’t doubt your actions after the fact

Knowing my analytical self, I was reminding myself on the walk to work, that I had made the right decisions, given the information I had at hand and the situation I was faced with. That no matter what I may think of later on, I did what I did. It was neither good or bad, but it was what it was.

But later that day, I couldn’t stop running the events through my head, wondering… “I should have maybe tried to swerve around the guy and kick him as I drove past” or maybe “I should have climbed off and threw the bike at him before running away”, or maybe “I should have climbed back to my feet after falling and continued to run”. All these “I could have’s” and “I should have’s” kept running through my mind.

For many this can haunt you for days, weeks, months and even years to come. In an attempt to find ways of a potentially better outcome (not lost as much of my ‘valuables’), I was beating myself up about it. THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE LIFE THAT I STILL HAVE… No more doubting my actions. I did what I did with the information I had at hand and I couldn’t be happier with my decisions. That along with grace.

You don’t know until you know

After speaking to many about the incident, I can tell myself that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to be riding a bike at that time of night, or in that area. But up until that point I never had problems or issues with either. If anything I felt very safe and comfortable. Nothing ever happened in the past, which is why I continued to do so.

It is easy with hindsight to point things out, but you don’t know until you know. It’s happened, it’s done. Don’t cry over split milk. How do we now clean up that milk and make sure it doesn’t get split again.

View the glass as already broken

We find so much attachment to things that when it’s taken from us or damaged, it feels like something of us has been taken or broken. Over time I have become very unattached to things, which made it easier for me to move on, instead of thinking of things once had.

Whether it’s money, cars, phones or other personal valuables, if you understand that these things were never yours to begin with, then when they leave you, it is that much easier to move on. We are merely custodians of these things and utilize them to achieve certain means to an end. Possessing them is not the end.

While overused sometimes, it feels quite appropriate. “We come into this life with nothing and we shall exit this life with nothing.” Appreciate your life, your health, your relationships and the experiences that you have.

Be a Hero

While I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, should this happen, I would offer this one piece of advice. Be a hero. I’m not talking about being a hero to yourself, to prove that you are stronger, better or don’t deserve for this to happen to you. Don’t believe that if you didn’t stand up and fight, that you’re giving in. No, in doing that you’re being selfish to yourself and your ego. And for what..? So you can tell the story at your next social gathering, that’s if you survive…

Be a hero to those that love you. Do what is necessary so that you can be the partner to your spouse and parent to your kids for years to come.


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About The Author

Neil Scholtz

Neil Scholtz is a certified Personal Trainer turned CrossFit coach. He has competed at the CrossFit Games and coached athletes that have competed at the CrossFit Games, but that's not his main focus. Most of his time is spent consulting or coaching individuals to improve their lives through fitness. He has worked with over 1000 individuals from various walks of life. Tailoring solutions to their lifestyle needs.

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