There are activities when you can get by with being oblivious to your surroundings. Motorcycling is not one of them. You need accurate inputs from your self, your motorcycle, your immediate environment and your future.
People have a natural aversion to pain, conflict and suffering. So they see what they want or expect to see and avoid discomfort. They develop strategies for avoiding current reality for fear of what it might bring.
Reality is not always pleasant, comforting or convenient. However, it’s necessary to see the truth as it actually is, in order to learn from your mistakes and grow. That means moving away from beliefs, concepts, and theories that influence your perception of reality.
9 Escapes from Current Reality
- Too much detail. On a bike, fixate on the road surface, the gravel shoulder or your controls and you miss the big picture. You fail to notice traffic is slowing ahead or you’re about to be cut off by the car coming up behind you. The life parallel is obsessing about details and failing to see the bigger picture they fit into. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re caught in the weeds.
- Too little detail. You can avoid pesky details by taking a high level, vague perspective. Looking as far down the road as possible is advised, but it needs to be moderated with regular checks of your immediate surroundings. Otherwise you’ll miss the car that’s about to pull out in front of you. Spending money without keeping track of your bank account or ability to pay gets you into credit woes.
- Misjudge. Most single-vehicle motorcycle accidents happen in corners. It’s because the rider has misjudged their entry speed, the radius or road conditions and then can’t manage the bike. Seeing only what you want to see gives you faulty information on which to base your actions. And that leads to trouble.
- Distort. Traffic cops get all kinds of creative distortions when people disregard the posted speed limit. “But officer, sir, it’s a wide open, straight road with no traffic. I thought I was going at a safe speed.” You can distort reality when it suits you. But you’re living in a dream world and it’s a shock when that bubble bursts.
- Victim of circumstance. Something happens that’s outside of your control and it caused you to behave in a certain way. While you can’t control everything that’s happening, you can always control your response.
- Physical or emotional cause. Your blood sugar dropped, you have PMS, your meds adversely affected you, you’re emotionally fragile. Sure these things happen, but using them as excuse to not meet expectations is avoiding reality. Your condition is part of reality, but it doesn’t have to interfere with your commitments.
- Self-absorbed. I know people who will insist on riding just below the speed limit on major highways because that’s the speed they’re most comfortable at. They intentionally and completely disregard what other traffic is doing – and the back up they’re causing and the hazard they’re creating. Yes, you need to love yourself first. But not when it puts others in danger. Love yourself on a different road.
- Ignore it. If you ignore it, it’s not a problem. My grandmother used this approach successfully for years to deal with her cancer and lived until her mid-eighties. Failing to check your drive chain, tire pressure or oil level could get you in significant trouble. So could ignoring advice from others.
- Rationalize. I’ve often heard, “This way has worked for years. Why mess with success?” Recently I was shocked to discover I had worn my rear brake pads to the metal. I hadn’t thought to check them because the bike had relatively low mileage. New information can turn established ways of thinking upside down. Rationalizing it only puts you in peril.
Your ability to live in current reality is essential to the health and well-being of your body, mind and spirit. If you don’t or won’t see reality, it limits your capacity to learn from your mistakes. Learning it takes a great deal of training and self discipline. You have the power to see the truth exactly as it is. Choosing to do so, gains you new possibilities in life.
- Life Lessons from Motorcycles: 7 Connections for Being Grounded
- 9 Essentials for Being Grounded
- 9 Practices to Keep You Grounded