Originally posted November 5, 2012. Keep your eyes on the ball!
Looking where you want to go keeps you balanced. It’s a fundamental skill taught in the first lesson new riders take. Allowing distractions to take your eyes away from your path will cause you to lose focus – and your balance. It’s risky because it will take you off the road.
9 ways successful people use eyes to maintain balance
- Look at the goal. While riding, most of the time your eyes want to be looking in the direction that you want to go. It’s the same on your life’s Road. Keeping your eyes on the goal helps you prioritize the endless demands on your time. If they’re not in scope, drop them before they drop you.
- Know the controls. Using the controls – i.e. clutch, shifter, brakes and throttle — on a motorcycle accesses the engine power. Once a new rider is confident with their location, there’s no need to keep looking at them. They’re not going to move. At home or work, be confident in your abilities and avoid second-guessing yourself. You know where your power is.
- Stay on an even keel. Cornering at high speeds involves leaning the bike. As your body leans, keeping your eyes level with the horizon and focused on where you want to go keeps you balanced and in control. Learn resilience so when life seems overwhelming, you can get through the twists and turns by looking in the direction you want to go.
- Scan the environment regularly. You need to know what’s going on in your immediate surroundings that could affect you. Scanning in all directions, including mirrors, prevents you from getting caught off guard and throwing you off-balance.
- Avoid distractions. A spawning salmon whose attention is caught by the shiny object at the edge of the stream is not going to make it home. There are many appealing interests that will lure you off track if you let them. It’s your choice.
- Protect eyes. Even jurisdictions that don’t require riders to wear helmets require them to protect their eyes. You only have one pair and if they get damaged, they can’t be replaced. A big part of staying balanced in body, mind and spirit means nurturing not just your eyes but your whole being.
- Confirm vision. It’s wise to periodically check to confirm your goal is still relevant. Conditions and priorities change. Stopping for a reality check, revising your plans as necessary and refocusing serves you well. There’s no point in focusing on an obsolete goal.
- Train. Acquiring any new skill requires training and discipline until you become proficient and it’s second nature. New riders tend to look down, which is exactly where they’ll go if they don’t correct that habit. Likewise, it takes discipline and hard lessons to remain centered and goal-oriented.
- Get some shut-eye. There’s nothing like adequate rest to rejuvenate, give you a fresh perspective and restore balance.
Long-term survival on a motorcycle requires you to understand how to use your eyes to maintain balance. While the consequences of not learning to use your eyes effectively in life are not so dire, they will keep you from reaching your full potential. Learn to use your eyes and turn life’s twisty roads into an enjoyable adventure.