Like riding a motorcycle safely, fulfilling our goals requires keeping an eye to the future as well as the present. 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 and focus on our goals. This not only gets us where we’re going, it also helps maintain balance.
9 Ways Motorcycles Teach us How to Balance Short and Long Term Goals
- Plan. Start with the end in mind. Do your research, understand what to expect, how to prepare, how long it will take, what resources you’ll need and what milestones you’ll measure. Then start out.
- Heed the Weather. Keep an eye to the sky. Identify trends and potential hazards in your environment that can affect you short and longer term. When riding, I don’t like to put on rain gear unless I have to and usually wait until the last minute before putting it on. But if I see a storm brewing and anticipate there will be no convenient or safe place to pull over up ahead, I’ll put it on before it’s necessary.
- Look Long Term. Stay focused on where you’re going, in spite of distractions. It helps maintain balance and avoids giving away energy to things that are outside of your control and not about to influence you.
- Stay within your limits. Even with a long-term focus, ride your own ride. Stretch goals are great, but you may need additional experience before you become proficient. Consider your skills, your line of vision, obstacles, possible hazards and the potential consequences of not being able to react appropriately.
- Anticipate. While I may never have been down a particular road, I know that loose gravel finds its way onto paved corners when cars go onto the shoulder and kick it up. I ride accordingly. Likewise, every life challenge isn’t a new lesson. The names and faces may change, put the underlying issues are the same. Learn to recognize the parallels and avoid repeat lessons.
- Consider the unseen; unspoken. Like deer at night. You know the risk is there. Act accordingly.
- Road surface. You’ve entered an area of rough road and know there will be bumps for a while. You also know you can get through it by accepting it and keeping your eyes on where you’re going. Short term you may have to deal with immediate challenges like potholes, slick surfaces or raked pavement. They can make things uncomfortable but don’t need to prevent you from getting through.
- Remember the past. On a motorcycle, mirrors remind you of lessons you’ve already had. They also alert you to hazards coming up from behind that you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Check them frequently.
- Prioritize. Even the best laid plans get changed. New information, unforeseen requirements or the introduction of new people can require you to re-evaluate, re-prioritize and change your plans. It’s like traveling down an open freeway that becomes congested with traffic. Your focus shifts as you’ve got more traffic to deal with and possible delays. Realizing you don’t have the time to meet your original agenda, you need to let things go, adjust your arrival time or your destination.
Successfully navigating our life’s Road requires a delicate balance between long and short-term views. We go in the direction our eyes are looking so it’s important to stay focused on our goal. At the same time, ignoring short-term hazards will land us in the ditch.