Whether we’re cruising down a country road or traveling our life’s Road, we’re surrounded by guidance that helps us maintain control and arrive safely. Ultimately we’re in the driver’s seat. While the information on which we base decisions is rarely complete, being as objective as possible usually leads to the best decisions.
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 we’re riding. Consequently, when all inputs have been considered, the operator decides how best to apply throttle, brakes, clutch and gears.
Except for Mr. Spock, it’s hard for us humans to keep emotions and ingrained behavior patterns from influencing our choices. We’re constantly running what we see and hear through our own filters. This can skew reality and mess with our decision-making.
These 9 inputs guide us:
- Skills. On a motorcycle, if we don’t have the skills to be where we are, we have no business being there. It doesn’t matter if it’s going up and down our street or hauling across the country. If we’re not prepared, we’re putting ourselves and everyone around us at risk. Read: Transitioning from Student to Easy Rider
- Road conditions. Like the physical road we travel, our life road can be smooth and paved, full of twists and turns, strewn with potholes or even under construction. We navigate safely through the choices we make and how we respond.
- Road signs. Posted signs tell us to slow down, speed up, merge and detour and we adjust our speed and direction accordingly. Life signs can be less obvious but they’re there and they guide us in making choices. Intuition is always there and it’s wise to listen.
- Traffic speed. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, whether its at work or at home, it has to be a fit for us. Is it casual and stable or fast-paced and rapidly changing? Before we put ourselves in a place where we know we’re not going to be happy, assess whether we have the skills, motivation and energy to go there.
- Traffic congestion, movement. We share the highway with other vehicles and we share our life with other people. While there is only so much we can control, others can influence the situation we’re riding/living in. While opinions of others don’t control where we’re going, their actions can cause us to make different choices.
- Weather. Sunshine and blue skies mean good visibility. If a storm blows up or darkness falls, we adjust our momentum.
- Potential severity of a mishap. The same road dropped into two different settings will likely motivate us to respond very differently. Picture a road through a countryside with beautiful sweeping curves. Then picture the same road with steep embankments and no guardrails. We’re likely to use more caution and navigate it very differently.
- Condition of motorcycle. Regular inspections and maintenance keep our bikes in top shape and give us the confidence that it will respond as we expect it to. We owe ourselves the same respect by honoring who we are and caring for body, mind and spirit.
- Awareness. In the end, if we’re not aware of what’s going on around us, we’re not making the best choices. We can easily be sidetracked by emotions, thoughts, fear or worry. While these are not likely to go away, we can control how we respond to them. Stay focused on what we can do. That’s where we’ll make the difference.
Related Post: Life Lessons from Motorcycles: 7 Keys for Control