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 immediate environment. Consequently, when all inputs have been considered, the operator can make the best decision on how best to apply throttle, brakes, clutch and gears.
Except for Mr. Spock, it’s hard for humans to keep emotions and ingrained behavior patterns from influencing choices. You’re constantly running what you see and hear through your own filters. This can skew reality and mess with your decision-making.
Apply the same principles to your life.
9 Ways to Make Better Decisions
Acquire the necessary skills
On a motorcycle, if you don’t have the skills to be where you are, you have no business being there. It doesn’t matter if it’s going up and down your street or hauling across the country. If you’re not prepared, you’re putting ourselves and everyone around you at risk.
Skills are the gateway to greater opportunities. Acquire them before attempting something that’s beyond your comfort zone. Pushing through without them sets you up for greater challenges for which you’re not prepared.
Heed road conditions
Like the physical road you travel, your life road can be smooth and paved, full of twists and turns, strewn with potholes or even under construction. You navigate safely by responding appropriately to conditions. While conditions are out of your control, how you interpret and respond to them is all up to you.
Posted signs tell you to slow down, speed up, merge and detour. You stay safe by adjusting your speed and direction accordingly.
Life signs can be less obvious but they’re there and they guide you in making choices. Intuition is always there and always right.
Adjust to traffic
Whatever situation you find yourself in, whether it’s at work or at home, it has to be a fit for you. Is it casual and stable or fast-paced and rapidly changing?
Before you put yourself in a place where you know you’re not going to be happy, assess whether you have the skills, motivation and energy to go there. More importantly, ask why you’d even go there and pick a different route.
Deal with congestion
You share the highway with other vehicles and you share your life with other people. They’re always coming and going.
While their actions are outside of your control, they influence the situation you’re riding or living in and the choices you make. You can still stay focused on your own destination, but the journey there can be different than you expected.
Mind the Weather
Weather is another input you can’t control. You can however choose how you prepare for it and what responses you make. Sunshine and blue skies mean good visibility and clear sailing. If a storm blows up or darkness falls, you adjust your momentum.
The environment around you is dynamic and unpredictable. Enjoy the blue skies and know how to deal with storms.
Assess the Risk
Drop the same road into different settings and you’ll respond very differently. Picture a road through the countryside with beautiful sweeping curves. Then picture a mountain road with steep embankments and no guardrails. You’re likely to use more caution and navigate it very differently.
How you perceive and respond to risk influences the choices you make and the path you choose through life.
Regular inspections and preventative maintenance keep your bike in top shape. They boost confidence that it will respond as you expect it to.
You owe yourself the same respect by honoring who you are and caring for body, mind and spirit.
In the end, if you’re not aware of what’s going on around you, you’re not making the best choices. You can easily be sidetracked into peril by emotions, thoughts, fear or worry.
While these don’t ever go away completely, you can control how you respond to them. Stay focused on what you can do. That’s how you’ll make the difference.
Review this list in the context of your own life’s journey. As you do, identify the inputs in your environment and reflect on how you’re responding to them. It may be time to pay more attention to them and adjust your direction accordingly.