10 Life Lessons I Learned From Being a Biker

Liz Jansen HeadshotGuest blog post by author & motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen.

Motorcycles and our relationship with them have much to teach us, whether we ride or not.

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. 

The immediacy and potential severity of the outcome when we misinterpret or ignore signs while riding, make these lessons vivid and indelible. 

Here are 10 life lessons taught by motorcycles (and fully detailed in Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment):

1) Balance

If we can’t balance our bike, we’re going to fall over. Sooner rather than later. Balance is much easier to maintain while we’re moving.

Maintaining a healthy balance between body, mind and spirit is essential to our well-being. When life has got us stopped or bogged down with demands, it’s harder to maintain balance. Sometimes you just need to put your foot down!

2) Vision

We go where we look. Keeping our focus as far ahead as possible in the direction we want to go, lets our eyes take us there. 

Focusing on love, joy, peace, abundance and the beauty around us brings us to more of the same. Allowing ourselves to be distracted by negative people and experiences will take us off course. 

3) Energy

Gas tanks have a finite capacity for fuel. Most bikes have an indicator to alert you that it’s time to fill up. Ignoring this warning sign for long enough will leave you stranded.

We too receive warning signs when it’s time to fuel up. The problem is, they’re often less obvious and easier to ignore. As we become more self-aware and intuitively astute, we recognize the signs earlier and can take proactive measures.

4) Communication

Conspicuous apparel, headlights, brake lights, turn signals and horn, indicate our approach and intended actions, reducing the potential for collisions. Checking them regularly is a good, proactive practice for safe travel. 

We use verbal and non-verbal communication to relay messages. Confirming the messages we intended to send out was the one received, goes a long way in averting misunderstandings, hurt feelings or miscued behavior. A few clarifying questions can avert a collision.

5) Priorities

We plan and prepare for our ride, but when we’re on the motorcycle, we take in only what we need for right now. Worrying about something down the road which may never materialize takes our focus off the present and we miss seeing a lovely waterfall. Or the car pulling out in front of us.

We get lots of signals in our busy lives but we need to listen first to the ones that are important. Becoming preoccupied by distractions, opinions of others and worry, cloud our thought process and usurp precious energy. 

6) Interdependence

A motorcycle relies on its operator for instruction and direction. Without a rider, the bike just sits there. And without a bike…..it’s a long walk.

While there are wild differences on the quantity, humans thrive with appropriate social contact. We need each other to survive. An interdependent relationship is far more fulfilling than one where partners are independent or dependent. 

7) Control

We apply throttle, brakes and gearing appropriately and respond to the feedback the motorcycle gives us. The choices we make determine how well the motorcycle performs. 

We control our choices. Things can happen that are outside of our control, but how we respond is up to us. The thoughts we allow to pervade, influence our confidence, self-awareness, feelings and ultimately, our effectiveness. 

8) Mirrors

Mirrors reflect what we can’t otherwise see: what’s coming up behind us. They also remind us of lessons we’ve learned along the way. They allow us to react appropriately in the present and prepare for future. 

Other people mirror back to us what we don’t see ourselves. They provide feedback on how our message is being perceived and whether their response is favorable, neutral, disappointing or hostile, they teach us things about ourselves.

9) Maintenance

Routine inspections and preventative maintenance reduce premature wear, enhances performance and promotes safety.  

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

10) Power

To move off, power needs to be transferred from the engine to the rear wheel, ideally in a controlled manner. Even though the engine may be running, until you shift into gear, you’re going to sit there.

Our power comes from our Self and our connection to the Universe. No one can give it to us and no one can take it away. Our spirit seeks expression and it’s our responses that determine how our energy is transferred. 

The Road to Empowerment can lead us around the world or around the block. It always brings us back to who we are.

Liz Jansen creates events, retreats and workshops, focused on personal growth, leadership and adventure – and motorcycles are often included. She has appeared on TV and radio shows and written for numerous print and online publications, including her own website.  Follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Print or kindle copies of Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment can be purchased on Amazon.

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