I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with motorcycles,
I love the steady feel of the throbbing engine. The rush of wind that pushes on my face. The freedom of the open road that stretches endlessly into the horizon.
I hate it when mishaps happen. Something inevitably goes wrong. An unaware motorist suddenly pulls out. They don’t see you. A random patch of gravel suddenly becomes ball-bearings beneath the wheels. An eighteen-wheel trucker decides to have a bit of fun at the bike boy’s expense and starts crowding my lane. Yeah, it happens.
I get it that there’s something primal and thrilling about testing your mortality in different ways. (I never totally got why people actually enjoy sky diving or scuba diving)
My biking friends admit their wheels represent a suppressed alter ego. Often the bike sits dormant, gathering dust for months or years.
Just having that stylin’ ride sit there represents the ultimate freedom and adventure (Motorcycle Diaries).https://youtu.be/u6jz_b80V5g
It may reinforce a latent rebellious streak. (Easy Rider/Born to be Wild) https://youtu.be/egMWlD3fLJ8
Maybe a bit of both.
One fateful day, I had three very close calls riding my bike around town.
Years later, a bit older and wiser, I got re-inspired by reading the Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Promising myself and my wife I’d be as safe as I could be, I signed up for a hardcore Motorcycle Survival Course. Recommend!
I got gutsy little dual-sport and explored a lot of high country in the wilds of Northern British Columbia.
WHAT’S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH THE START OF 2020?
Life lessons learned on the bike have served me well. The lessons are readily transferrable. They’ll carry me into 2020 and beyond.
This holds true literally, figuratively, and metaphorically. If you’re cruising a bike or cruising through your daily life, (or a decade), exactly where set your sight is critically important. In biking, this is an immutable law. It means the difference between life and death. At very least, a massive fail video and a whole lot of hurt.
This rider was admiring an oncoming Corvette. Fortunately, both parties were OK. See https://youtu.be/-2R4D1vBOM8
Having your sights set on things that are important and meaningful for you personally, at work, and in the community has a drawing effect. Setting waypoints and having a personal GPS system helps get you there.
See this month’s Winning Habits Challenge.
Once you hit a certain speed, the laws of science and physics dictate that you push left to turn right. This is another immutable law of successful riding.
Every human instinct screams “wrong” but it’s actually “right”. If you ignore the science of this and attempt to swerve to avoid an obstacle at speed, you’ll actually be steering right into it.
This has happened to more than one newbie rider. See https://youtu.be/VVE79XT8-Mg
Countersteering varies by speed, size of bike and geometry of the turn, etc. but if you ignore it, seriously bad things happen.
Navigating life in the 20th century at speed can be perilous.
Going with only your feelings and gut instinct when a preponderance of data dictates otherwise, leads to schmuck-ups.
Knowledge is a great equalizer. We have more knowledge available to us than ever before. In exchange for effort, the person with insight has an extraordinary advantage over the one who doesn’t.
Learn to read, research and interpret the road signs of life and respond with your head and your heart.
Yup, it’s a thrill. Gaining top speed is easy to measure and a lot of fun.
I had an early brush with the effects of high speed. It left an indelible impression. I wrote about it here.https://lorneepp.com/whats-in-your-backpack/
There are times when celerity is exactly what’s needed.
Here’s the thing.
In today’s hyper-fast world, I’m convinced that “slow down to go fast” is the only way to go.
You’ll always need time to master the basics and context of any endeavor. Then and only then can you scale up and gain momentum.
The other new 21st-century wrinkle?
With all this new knowledge coming at us, we need to regularly call a “time out” to stop and evaluate.
Unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we can’t just click our heels and magically return to a simpler, slower time. However, we can pause, look at the data, and assess what the latest change means to our personal or corporate world.
For most people I work with, there are dozens of factors that matter way more than functioning at break-neck speed.
We usually look at culture, systems, and processes first. Beyond that, there’s trust, accountability, teamwork, bravery, empathy and a whole lot of other skills that matter way more than horsepower.
Yours truly exploring on Vancouver island
I don’t ride much these days.
That said, it wouldn’t take much if the right opportunity presented itself.
You see, a part of my brain got stuck at 18.
I still have trouble acting my age.
Until next time.
Drop me a line.
If you’re enjoying this monthly article and the Winning Habits Challenge, feel free to forward it to a friend.
You might just win a referral Taco on me. It’s been known to happen.
January Winning Habit Challenge:
Three Words For The Year?
Simple But Never Easy!
My challenge every January is to come up with three words that represent the strategic directions for the year. Two isn’t enough and four’s too many so three’s about right.
There’s nothing magic or weird here. It’s just a way to incorporate a small success habit by bringing consistent intent, focus, and clarity to my decisions and actions in 2020.
That’s why I’ve been taking the time to thoughtfully select three words that will serve as keys to my year. If you’re unfamiliar with this exercise, business writer and consultant Chris Brogan started this in 2006.
A lot of other folks are doing this. Just check out #my3words.
I spend time reflecting on the past year, what’s worked, what has not, what was unclear and what was missing. More importantly, I try to gain a clear picture of what I want my next year to look like.
Sometimes the words come out of the goals I have set, other times I will jot down words that capture my attention and accurately reflect my intention.
I usually take time to talk through my goals and my three words with my wife Margaret and several close friends. That’s always helpful.
It shaped my ideas into something more tangible. It also reaffirmed that we’re in this together and no matter what goals I have or words I choose, they are meaningless without mutual support.
I try to interact with my three words each day. For example, I’ll jot them at the top of my planner page or on top of my workout calendar. Doing this keeps them front and center, not only pointing me in the direction of my goals but grounding me in the interim work that needs to be done to achieve them.
I’ve come to think of my words as three keys that unlock potential in the coming year.
So far I’ve settled on 1. NETWORK 2. ENHANCE 3. SIMPLIFY
Stay tuned. I’ll expand on this more next month.
It’s WAY more fun if you actually share your three words once you’ve got them figured out.
I love hearing people’s three words every year. It’s truly one of the best parts of every year for me.
Use the hashtag #my3words so that others (like me) can find what you’ve got to share.
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