I remember my motorcycle training instructor telling me to push away from a turn. I don’t remember dying.
Dave the Outlaw
When I was about 17 years old, I purchased a scooter. It was a cherry red Yamaha Jog and it could go from 0 to 40 in about that much time.
It was not quite a Harley, but it went up to 40 MPH (if my metric conversion is correct, that’s 9,000 KPH, give or take). The great thing about it was that it was the fastest two-wheeled vehicle you could buy without getting a special license or taking any special training.
Until they changed the law a few months later.
So I had two options: become an outlaw or take a motorcycle safety course. Had I instead purchased a Harley that could have outrun the fuzz, this story may have had a different ending. As it was, I took the training.
The course was nothing fancy. We listened a lot. We drove slowly. Occasionally we threw caution to the wind and went around cones at the breakneck speed of 5 miles an hour. We even occasionally rode one handed.
Just kidding. We may have been bad to the bone, but we didn’t have a death wish.
It was a simple course with one purpose: to give us basic riding skills, but it was one particular skill that seemed completely counterintuitive, almost reckless. But it was one of the most valuable skills I learned.
That Doesn’t Seem Right
Even though I had driven my scooter for several months prior to the training, the course went over a lot of basics, including how to turn. At first glance, this seems obvious, only with a two-wheeled vehicle going at any decent speed, you don’t turn the handlebars like you would a car. You can’t. You simply lean.
To some, this is not an instinctive move. It’s not something that comes naturally, or, at least, it can cause some to get very nervous. So the instructor had a simple solution: push the handlebars away from the turn.
Now this is not a big gesture, but a simple nudge. If anything it really seemed like it was a mental trick, because as soon as you nudge the handlebars at all, you instinctively lean the other way. In reality, it simply seemed like it was to help get past the reservations people had and simply lean.
Sometimes to head the right way, we simply need to make a choice. Sometimes we struggle with decisions and aren’t sure which to take, so we pause. We hesitate. We freeze.
But if we simply make a decision, we often find that we will know very quickly, almost instinctively, if it’s right or not. We will either move with it or realize it’s not the right direction and change course.
It’s not always easy to know which things we need to do, but it’s much better to make a choice, jump in, and move forward than it is to delay and keep barreling down the road when we need to turn.
If you want to excel, know what your decision making strategy is. Then, when given the opportunity, make a choice. That’s a much better way than waiting until the opportunity has passed you by.