Life Lessons from motorcycles is a series exploring the lessons we learn through riding.
Here, we examine 7 ways our bikes speak to us about vision.
Motorcycle: Our eyes steer the bike. This fundamental skill pervades all others. We want to look in the direction we want to go because our eyes will certainly take us there.
Lesson: If we don’t have goals, a purpose, focus and see clearly where we’re going, we tend to drift through life, experiencing only a fraction of what we’re capable of. True fulfillment can evade us.
Vision – Long vs Short Term
Motorcycle: Constantly scanning our environment prepares us to respond to traffic, road signs and the unexpected – like animals and bouncing balls. At the same time, we look well down the road. This not only gets us where we’re going, it also helps maintain balance.
Lesson: Breaking long term goals down into a series of shorter term steps keeps work and personal projects manageable and on track. It enables us to measure progress towards our ultimate goal.
Motorcycle: Riding requires our full attention. As per the first point, we go where we look. So if we allow our eyes to focus on something other than the road ahead, that’s where we’ll go
Lesson: We all have many demands on our time and personal resources. They may seem important at the time, but if we take a step back and look at them in the grand scheme of things, they lose their urgency and significance. Over time, directing energy to something that’s off course will drain us, making us less effective for those things we’ve decided are priorities.
Motorcycle: Even jurisdictions which don’t require riders to wear a helmet require them to wear eye protection. Our eyes are not built to take wind, bugs, dust and stones, even at slow speeds. There are some senses we can lose and still operate a motorcycle. Sight is not one of them.
Lesson: Nurturing our mind, body and spirit keeps us healthy and fit. While this includes a healthy intake, it also means protecting our Self from people and situations that can hurt us. Being mindful of what these are allows us to be proactive. While we won’t avoid everything, we can direct our energy on moving forward rather than damage control.
Line of Sight
Motorcycle: The layers in front of our eyes can build up. Dirt, scratches, bugs or fogging on our windscreen, visor and glasses impede our ability to see. The closer they are to our eyes, the more they interfere. Add in rain, darkness or the combination and visual acuity becomes a challenge! How quickly they accumulate determines how often we stop and tend to them.
Lesson: An excessive workload, taking on emotional burdens of others or heeding limiting thoughts and beliefs clutter our minds, deplete our energy and distort our vision. We lose sight of where we want to go. If we don’t pay attention, we become ineffective.
Circle of Control
Motorcycle: While curves are exciting, we adjust our speed if we can’t see far enough around the corner. In darkness, riding beyond the area of illumination puts us at risk. We need time to react and if we’re pushing the envelope beyond where we can see, we’re placing ourselves at risk.
Lesson: Our adventure gene loves to be exercised yet it does need to be tempered by reality. Not only do we forfeit the beauty and enjoyment of the present when we get ahead of ourselves or rush into situations we’re not ready for, we also risk putting ourselves in danger.
Motorcycle: The faster you go, the further ahead you need to see.
Lesson: The busier we are, the more attention we pay to making sure the activities we’re engaged in are in scope.
Vision is an essential component of riding a motorcycle. Whether it’s referring to our goals, our line of sight or our physical ability to see, we need it. Riding teaches us to set goals, focus, prepare – and then enjoy the beauty that is all around us!