Much of what happens in your life is beyond your control. What you can control however, is your response to situations, which in turn can dramatically affect an outcome or alter a course of action.
On a motorcycle, the difference between using the controls wisely or not can mean the difference between life and death.
While the consequences of poor choices in life may not be so dramatic, they can wreak havoc if they become a way of living.
7 Types of Controls and How to Use Them
- Objectivity. A motorcycle responds to direction based on fact. It doesn’t interpret, inject emotion or argue. Inputs that affect performance come not only from the operator, but also from the road and the environment in which you’re riding. Consequently, assuming all inputs have been considered, it becomes easy to predict how your bike will respond in a given situation.Except for Mr. Spock, it’s hard to keep emotions out of decision-making. You’re constantly running what you see and hear through your own filters. This can skew reality and lead to behaviors based on faulty decision-making. Being aware of this tendency is the first step to correcting it.
- Awareness. A motorcycle is either stopped or moving. How you apply throttle, brakes and gearing, determines how well the motorcycle does either one. As the (well-maintained) motorcycle doesn’t do anything not directed by the operator, it’s up to you to be aware of what’s going on around you so you can adjust to the situation accordingly.The lines between stopped or moving in life – i.e. living one’s purpose or not — are less clear. What is certain though are that thoughts and behaviors control your confidence, self-awareness, feelings and ultimately, your effectiveness.
- Brakes. Although tempting, braking, which can stop you very quickly, may not be the best choice. Ideally, you judge your speed correctly in response to the road. Brakes can get you in trouble in unexpected gravel, a sharp corner or avoiding an obstacle on the highway. Applying more throttle and counter-steering are alternatives. If braking is appropriate, they must be applied using the proper ratio, technique and timing. In any case, keeping your eyes on where you want to go is the best way to stay in control. Tweet Quote.Sometimes when life gets challenging, you want to stop. But that won’t get you through the rough stuff and can even make things more difficult. While everyone faces adversity at some time in their life, staying focused on where you’re going and drawing on alternative resources will ease the journey.
- Throttle. Your throttle is your friend. Lose your nerve and ease off on the throttle inappropriately and you’ll go down. It’s needed to maintain momentum, forward direction, getting through rough spots – and getting off the starting line!It’s up to you to decide when to make a move, how quickly you’re going to go, how quickly you slow down. Once you understand how to apply your power, it’s a lot less intimidating and easier to let go.
- Shifter. You use the shifter to select the appropriate gear. To maximize power, you operate within the power band of each gear. When situations change, you adjust your style accordingly.Personally and professionally you can find yourself in situations where your power just isn’t effective. Either you’re bogged down, or you’re overdoing it. Adjusting your style and approach to the situation puts you back in your optimal power band.
- Turn Signals, Brake Lights, Headlights. Turn signals, brake lights and headlights are all alert others to your intended action and help avoid collisions.Using clear communications, confirming that the messages you intend to send out are those that are being received, goes a long way in avoiding misunderstandings – and collisions.
- Maintenance. Checking cables, connections, turn signals, brake lights and headlights prior to going out for a ride is a good, proactive practice. It gives you greater confidence in your ability to travel safely, knowing that you can be seen.Confirming that the messages you intend to send out are those that are being received, goes a long way in averting misunderstandings, hurt feelings or miscued behavior. A few clarifying questions are a good idea, especially in matters of great importance.
A rider doesn’t intuitively know how to use the controls on a motorcycle. It requires practice, practice and more practice. You’ll develop muscle memory so when the unexpected does happen on the road, your automatic reaction will be more likely to be the correct one.
It’s the same in life. Get to know the types of controls that are available and practice using them on a regular basis. Only then will they become habit and make your response to a personal or work situation the best one for you.