Life Lessons from Motorcycles: 12 Principles of Survival


Life Lessons from Motorcycles is a series exploring the teachings we can learn through riding,  if we’re receptive.

In this introductory post, 12 Principles of Survival are identified, along with a brief description of the concept applied to motorcycle and rider.  Subsequent posts will examine their respective Life Lessons in more detail.

life lessonsBalance

Motorcycle: If we can’t balance our bike, we’re going to fall over. Sooner rather than later.

Lesson: Maintaining a healthy balance between body, mind and spirit is essential to our well-being.


Motorcycle: Our eyes steer the bike. We want to be looking in the direction we want to go because our eyes will certainly take us there.

Lesson: If we don’t have goals, a purpose or a focus and see clearly where we’re going, we tend to drift through life, experiencing only a fraction of what we’re capable of and missing true fulfillment.


Motorcycle: The quality of what we feed it – fuel, fluids, air – affects performance and longevity.

Lesson: We’ve all heard, “You are what you eat.” We’re also what we hear, see and feel. “Garbage in, garbage out,” is another appropriate truism.


Motorcycle: An internal combustion engine needs an ignition source, gasoline and oxygen. Failure to receive each in the proper ratio at the proper time will cause the bike to stall. Understanding how energy is created and dispersed is directly linked to performance.

Lesson: How we allocate our energy influences how effective and happy we are. Recognizing energy sources and drains is vital for making decisions that affect how we feel.


Motorcycle: Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and horn indicate our approach and intended action. Another aspect of this principle are the signals a motorcycle sends when something is amiss.

Lesson: We use verbal and non-verbal communication to relay messages. Often it’s not what we say but how we say it that carries the meaning. Our bodies and intuition relay signals when something is amiss.


Motorcycle: A motorcycle relies on it’s operator for instruction and direction. Without a rider, the bike just sits there.

Lesson: While there are wild differences on the quantity, humans thrive with appropriate social contact. An interdependent relationship is far more fulfilling than one where partners are independent or dependent.


Motorcycle: As a general rule, we need to keep both tires in contact with the ground at all times. Skilled, controlled moto-cross, off-road and trials riding have moments of exception. But for the most part, as my friend Max Burns advises,  “A sliding motorcycle is only a problem when it’s on its side. Up to that point, we always have the option of control.”

Lesson: Adventure and challenges abound as we slide through life. As wonderful or difficult as it gets, staying grounded in current reality maintains perspective, momentum and focus.


Motorcycle: It’s either stopped or moving. How we apply throttle and brakes, along with appropriate gearing, determines how well the motorcycle does either one.

Lesson: The lines between stopped or moving are less clear. What is certain though are that thoughts and behaviours control our confidence, self-awareness, feelings and ultimately, our effectiveness.


Motorcycle: Manufacturers go to great lengths to establish and protect their image. Riders add their personal touch with accessories and customization.

Lesson: Your brand is how you’re defined; who you are; or more accurately, the perception of who you are. And it’s one of your most valuable assets.


Motorcycle: Routine inspections and maintenance reduce premature wear and increase longevity. Replacing parts proactively enhances performance and safety.

Lesson: Body, mind and soul are no different. They need regular care to function optimally and allow us to flourish.


Motorcycle: To move off, power needs to be transferred from the engine to the rear wheel, ideally in a controlled manner!

Lesson: Our power comes from our Self and our connection to the Universe. That energy that is in each of us seeks expression and our receptivity to listening is the next step in our energy transfer. Our free choice influences how that plays out.


Motorcycle: Mirrors show us where we’ve been. They also alert us to approaching objects and enable us to take informed action.

Lesson: Everyone is our teacher. They come into our life for reason and reflect both what we like and don’t like about ourselves. Becoming aware of this furthers our personal and spiritual growth.

Motorcycles and our relationship with them, are rich with life lessons and have much to teach us. As Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment describes, “The partnership of rider and machine when they join together in perfect harmony is like observing a beautiful dance that gives birth to power, strength, balance and positive change.”

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Inspirational Blogs.

Healer, author, and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

4 Comments on “Life Lessons from Motorcycles: 12 Principles of Survival

  1. Liz, I like how you use the metaphors about motorcycling to help us in our lives! Great job. That’s what I wrote about in my book, The Mom Who Took Off On Our Motorcycle (to be published in October). I am enjoying your blog – great road lessons and life lessons.

    • Thanks Diana! I’m looking forward to reading The Mom Who Took Off On Our Motorcycle. Sounds fascinating!


  2. Diana
    sounds like a book I need to read. I suspect it may be funny too.
    May babies are in their 30rdies, but I suspect they say something like The Mom who took off on HER motorcycle everytime they wish I was around to help them out.
    Well we all grow up sometime.
    Donna Boudreau

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