Being Grounded: 7 Key Lessons from Motorcycles
Being grounded means to “give (something abstract) a firm theoretical or practical basis.” (Oxford Dictionary) Motorcycles remind us to remain grounded in the following seven areas.
Motorcycle: Enjoyment and safety are inextricable. A good grounding in technical skills and operating within our skill level sets the stage for the most pleasurable experience. Learning from a qualified instructor is the best way to get started. As our confidence grows, we increase our proficiency through advanced and skill specific courses.
Lesson: If we’re going to learn any new skill, especially if it involves our safety, take the time to research and become educated. It shortens the learning curve and gets us going into something we enjoy.
Motorcycle: A healthy motorcycle is one that’s in peak working order. Wondering if our bike is going to leave us stranded somewhere or damage itself or us, is distracting and detracts from our enjoyment.
Lesson: Keeping healthy in body, mind and spirit provides us with maximum energy to move through life. If we’re not at a healthy starting point, we don’t have the same focus and drive to direct at other interests.
Motorcycle: There are activities when we can get by with being oblivious to our surroundings. Motorcycling is not one of them. We need inputs from our self, our motorcycles, road conditions, weather, visibility and surrounding traffic.
Lesson: Observe anyone walking down the sidewalk, intent on a conversation with their friend, oblivious to everything else going on around them. We miss inputs all the time; sometimes with unfortunate outcomes ranging from poor decisions to accidents.
Motorcycle: This involves literally staying connected with the ground. 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 riders 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 travel through life. As wonderful or difficult as it gets, choosing to be in control (to the extent that anyone can be in control) maintains perspective, momentum and focus.
Motorcycle: We sharpen our skills through third-party feedback – be it an instructor, another rider, our motorcycle, road conditions or our own sense of awareness. Having the skills is a start; Being receptive means being able to respond appropriately.
Lesson: Friends, colleagues and superiors are all sources of constructive feedback. Being open and receptive helps us grow personally and professionally. Conversely, even well-intentioned advice can be ill-advised. Even though our intuition will filter this out, we’re still grateful that others care.
Motorcycle: There are times when it feels like life is passing by so quickly, we lose our grounding. These are the times when we need to stop, put our foot down to maintain balance and recharge our batteries before we proceed. Especially when we’re learning to ride – we need to rest more frequently.
Lesson: We all go through rough spots and encounter bumps on the road of life. During these times, it’s even more important to make sure we’re looking after ourselves. Outcomes range from excessive fatigue to physical, mental and emotional illness.
Motorcycle: Being grounded is really the foundation on which all other riding experiences evolve. Acquiring the technical, physical and mental skills, combined with a healthy attitude, bode well for many years of amazing riding experiences!
Lesson: Keeping body, mind and spirit grounded and balanced, is essential to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. During times of change, which is constant, it’s particularly important to make sure we’re looking after ourselves. Like motorcycling, when we take on too much, we have to stop and lessen our load to stay balanced. Tweet quote.
This post continues exploring the themes introduced in Life Lessons From Motorcycles: 12 Principals of Survival.