What I Believe
We all have a philosophy - or philosophies - that guide us in life. Maybe it's chosen, maybe it's inherited, or maybe we defaulted to our parents are spiritual leaders or teachers. However we got it…we all got it. And it affects how we see the world, how we think, what we believe and what we don't believe, what we feel and how we experience things, and ultimately, and I believe most importantly, what we choose to do. My field for the past 28 years has been motorcycle safety and rider training. I've taught hundreds of classes and trained thousands of students and instructors. I love this work. I love the people and I believe the work that we do in this area serves the riders and their families and loved ones. Having said all that, as good as our work is, it doesn't seem to be moving the needle on crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
While car driving is getting safer, motorcycle riding isn't. Some of the things I've learned along this path are that there's really only two aspects to motorcycle safety: preventing the crash and surviving the crash, and that's it. While riding is often a solo sport, the consequences of riding are not. It affects spouses and kids, our parents and friends and coworkers. And as much work as there is going on and motorcycle related laws, regulations, awareness campaigns, roadway engineering and such. In those moments of truth, it's just the rider…it's just me and it's just you. I started asking different questions… “With all the factors outside of my control, what's in my control? What can I do as a rider when bad things happen? What can I do as a rider before bad things happen? and What can I do as a rider to prevent the bad things from happening at all?”
I have the freedom to choose…but just what am I choosing, and why. I've always loved reading and studying philosophy and after a quarter century in the motorcycle safety business, I saw the connection between the two. Our philosophy affects what we choose to do and what we choose to do leads to our outcomes. The great news is we get to choose our philosophy of riding and our philosophy of living. One of the big challenges as I see it in our industry, in our field of motorcycle riding, is that we don't like being told what to do and will often resist doing something primarily because someone's telling us to do it. I see my job as helping riders ask and answer questions for themselves. Questions like:
• What do I really want as long-term outcomes for me and those I love?
• How do I take control of the things I do have control over?
• How do I stack the odds in my favor?
• The actions I'm taking…are they from my deliberate choices or am I doing what others do?
• How do I make choices and take actions that will lead me to prevent and survive crashes on my motorcycle, but also at work, with my family, and in life?
My belief is that the successes we seek on our bikes as well as in life will come from Reality, Reason, and Judgment.
Reality. What is...is.
Reason. What does it mean and what can I predict?
Judgment. Based on what is and what it means, what do I choose to do?
And keeping a focus on our own self-interest. What do I want long-term? What do I value? What do I want to provide for my family? What do I want to contribute?
There's risk in riding a motorcycle. There's risk in living. Bad things can and do happen. My job is to inspire and empower you to accept those risks, but to do so with eyes open, a clear vision of reality and clear commitments, a clear pledge to make choices and take actions to manage them in a way that serves you, your health, your life, your family and loved ones, and all the future contributions you have to make to the world. None of us wants to crash - on a motorcycle; in our work, or with our loved ones. And if we do experience a crash, we all want to survive it in the best condition possible. My job is to help you make the choices and take the actions to do just that.