I took a motorcycle class to get re-certified and learned an important principle that goes way beyond riding two wheelers. The instructor emphasized over and over in both the classroom and on the course that when you’re making a turn you want to look through the turn—look where you’re going—and not at the obstacle near your path that you’re afraid you’re going to hit.
It’s human nature that we steer in the direction we’re looking, and when you’re afraid you’re heading toward the ditch, you look at the ditch, and your path follows your gaze right into the ditch. In the class they pounded in the lesson that when you get into trouble, look far ahead to where you want to go, and keep your eyes off what you’re afraid will be your impending doom.
That lesson has worked well for me on bicycles. More than once since then I’ve found myself in a tight space on a road or mountain trail and was heading toward a drop off or nasty obstacle. I remembered the lesson from the motorcycle course and looked toward the goal, and recovered without crashing.
But what’s really important is how that applies to life in general. For example, if I want to be a better writer I need to look at the lifestyles of successful writers and follow them. Do things like read great books in my genre and on the craft, write regularly, and avoid distractions that stand in the way of producing quality work. And avoid looking at the ditch, which in this case is worrying about rejection or failure.
In my leadership role at work I need to look at respected people and their path. Things like industry knowledge, communications skills, and taking the initiative.
As a husband I need to… Actually, in this case I should be talking to my wife to see where I want to go. She’s the one who knows where I should be going.
How about you? Do you have someplace you’d like to go—and know what you need to look to?