Image by Place-in-Time
One of my passions in life is riding bikes (motorcycles not bicycles). There is nothing quite like the feeling of riding on a nice day, through a tight twisty road, and you seem to be flowing as one with the bike through every turn! As a rider, I am always seeking to improve my skill and abilities. A number of years ago I came across a brilliant book and subsequent videos from the California Superbike School, which taught skills and an understanding of the dynamics of riding. The funny thing was, as I read some of this material I could not help but see how some of the principles actually applied to life in general. Let me explain.
For me (and for most riders I would suspect), the most fun on a bike is in cornering. Straight lines are just not that much fun! There are many aspects that go into cornering on a bike: braking points, counter steering, throttle control, road or track construction, etc, etc. One of the elements that I learned early on was about vision: a motorcycle will generally go where the driver is looking.
One of the most basic and important things when going through corners is to always look further down the road to where you want to go, not where you currently are. In other words, you want to start your cornering with the end in mind.
It is the same with many things in life. We need to know where we are going. We need to have a clear picture of what the end looks like so that we can head towards it. We need to begin with the end in mind.
By the way, this is also true in emergency situations. Because the bike always goes where the rider is looking, most riders in an emergency fixate on the obstacle or danger and therefore inevitably hit it. This is called target fixation, and is true for life as well. Sometimes we get so fixated on a problem or possible issue instead of having a vision beyond it, and so it inevitably happens. But I digress – back to the subject at hand!
When we approach life or any endeavour, we should always start with the end in mind; with a clear vision of what we want to achieve and see. Once we have that vision, that end destination, we can then start to build plans that get us to that destination. Just like cornering on a bike, once you “see” your exit point you can plan your braking, entry and turning point to come through that corner the fastest and safest way possible. It is the same in life. For example, I knew I wanted to work in IT, I had a firm picture of the types of roles and jobs I wanted, and once I knew that I had to plan my study, applications and interviews accordingly so that I reached my end goal. It didn’t matter what other things came in to distract me, I knew where I was heading and how I was going to get there. I Also knew which choices to make in situations, as I always knew my end goal. Whatever we want to achieve in life, we need to start with the end in mind.
The problem with not starting with the end in mind, or of not having a clear vision for your life, is that you live without purpose or direction and never really achieve the levels of success that you were intended to achieve. The Bible says it this way: “Without vision, people cast off restraint (or live recklessly).” In other words, without a clear picture of what they want to achieve, people go through life living from moment to moment, day to day, making bad choices and never really building anything significant or achieving anything great.
I believe that every person has a purpose and destiny to fulfill. However, I also believe that many of these destinies go unfulfilled simply because we don’t take the time to understand what that destiny looks like, and therefore don’t make plans and choices that help us to achieve these things. Going thorough life without the end in mind is like me deciding that I am going to travel in a new country or place without a map or GPS – eventually I may end up where I wanted to go, but it will be by accident rather than by design. I know I would rather have a plan for where I am heading so that I know what the outcome will be.