Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I call this “The 7-P Principle.”
I’ve talked about how the motorcycle teaches us to Just Keep Going, and make No Sudden Changes. We started the discussion “during”, and now we want to back up to the “before.” In this situation, however, the “before” can also happen “during.” These are life lessons, so I guess it’s always “during.” I have to be careful here, I might be starting to confuse myself. Luckily, time is relative!
The most critical part of this life lesson is to understand that there are a number of reasons/times when the 7-P Principle applies. First, and perhaps most obviously is the simple act of “not screwing up because you didn’t do the work.” This is as straightforward as checking your tire pressure or making sure you packed rain gear. In life, just as in motorcycling, preparation on the physical plane is critically important.
But there’s more in this lesson. It’s about planning. Planning is far more than just physical realities, and that’s where the life lesson comes into play. Making use of the power in the lessons of “Just Keep Going” and “No Sudden Changes”, the 7-P Principle acts as the transmission; where we constantly evaluate and re-evaluate whether we’re in the right gear.
When moving at speed, we are destined to “Just Keep Going” and if we adhere to “No Sudden Changes”, then we need to have planned beforehand. The faster we move, the further ahead we need to plan. This is where we truly learn proper use of the mind. Moving at speed, we learn to look farther down the road. You decide where you want to go, let your mind calculate, and trust your body to do what the mind tells it to do. At this moment, we find that the 7-P Principle is also directly integrated with our habits. If you failed to properly train your habits at prior moments, you can expect piss poor performance.
Interestingly enough, there is another valuable truth about prior proper planning that prevents piss poor performance. That truth has to do with worry. When we don’t take the time to plan and prepare, the mind tends to drift more towards perseverating on what could potentially go wrong. Whether our opinion of facts is that they are good or bad, we don’t worry about what we know ... what we know is just “what is” regardless of our opinion. What we worry about is uncertainties. Being preoccupied with uncertainties when we need critical focus on this moment can have disastrous consequences at speed. Despite the reality that an infinite number of uncertainties in life await - when we have planned properly, we tend to focus on the moment, not the uncertainties. When we focus on the moment, and every step towards the plan in that moment, worry dissolves and things tend to go as planned. Even the unexpected often seems to be within accepted tolerance of the plan.
While there may be dramatically more to say about the 7-P principle, motorcycling also teaches us not to waste time on excessive planning. Excessive planning is improper planning. We learn which things we need to have in the plan, and which things we can’t control. This fact, combined with the natural physical limitations of the motorcycle leads to the flexibility and creativity which are part of the great joy in motorcycling.
#311, Matthew J. D'Anca, Sr. shares the life lessons he's learned since he became a motorcyclist in 2005. Though the knowledge he has gained has been paramount to improving his skills behind the handlebars, it has been even more critical in improving his life.