My Harley’s Guide to Life – 7 Universal Lessons

This lady has been a great coach who taught me important life lessons. Good news: you don’t need to ride to learn them too!

Instead of a Prologue

Many of us have, maybe once in our life, read a self-help book, or listened to a life coach guru, or maybe visited a workshop and firewalked on a nice exotic beach.

Always with the goal in mind to make our life more efficient, to fulfill our dreams, to understand our unique calling, to answer all the burning questions.
As a child and teenager, my „self help“ was reduced to Good Old Classic LiteratureTM, later followed by philosophy and ethics, psychology and liguistics, then by world religions and spirituality. I’ve also head a share of exciting esoterical/metaphysical times after asking myself „what is that Golden Dawn thing Bowie sings about?“

It was clear that every system had its own language but all of those shared the same truths over and over again, truths that all boiled down to one simple and horrifyingly deep answer to all our questions: know who you are.

A statement that took its toll living and breathing by.
A lot of hard work.
A few scary places.
Victories that destroyed everything, and failures that created love and peace.

But it got easier the more I walked the talk.
I would look into a mirror and I would like the person that I saw.

Still, I needed a trigger, a reminder, something to keep me on track during periods of extensive work when a never-endling to-do list kept knocking over each and every good habit, when it was easy to get carried away on the wrong set of wings.

Something massively helpful.
Something unexpectedly helpful.

My Sportster Guru

life-coach-motorcycleWhen I started riding, I have experienced a learning process different to anything I’d ever done before.
Instead of an intellectual learning I was pretty well accustomed with, here I got enlightened with each physical challenge.

And that simple, deep, physical learning went like this:

„If it works for a ride – it works for life”.

Lesson 1. Focus on your goal.

As a newbie biker, this was news to me:

Our body follows – wait for it – where we put our focus on.
Isn’t it amazing?

When you lean into the bend, you are taught to never look just straight forward, but to target the horizon, the point where the turn ends, so your body will get you and the machine there. It feels like magic, or like a Harry Potter broomstick ride, but it’s „just“ how our mind and body work together.

Got to drive between obstacles? Watch your ideal route – and absolutely not the obstacles.
Riding up a narrow ramp? Always let your eyes closely watch the perfect route, and your body will follow.

In life, when you know where you’re headed, when you want to get there, things start falling into place.
Not by obviously, every doubt is also a treat to your ideal route.

Lesson 2. Be fit.

Sadly, most of us are pretty accustomed to driving our cars with a migraine, after a sleepless night, stressed, depressed, anxious, making phone calls, smoking or arguing with our front-seat passenger…

All incredibly bad habits, but if you look around you’ll see that most car drivers are not in their best moment.
Truckers who nearly sniff their instant coffee to stay awake.
Grannies who are afraid of left turns.
Old men in their stubborn “70 years without an accident” glory.
Angry office dwellers who see traffic regulations as yet another means to bug the average joe.
Tired mothers fishing for a pacifier.

You get it.

You don’t have this doubtful luxury on a motorbike.
Well, you shouldn’t have it when driving a car either, but we all know how reality looks like; and again for the record: I totally disapprove of that irresponsibility.

On a motorcycle, however, you must be in your best form, you need to be awake and balanced.
You need to be alert, attentive and forsightful.
Attributes you need on the road – attributes you need in business and life.

And I’ve learned it the hard way: being tired, and having eaten gluten-rich stuff (I didn’t know about my allergy back then), I had to cancel a trip in the middle of the ride because I felt absolutely like in life, the fitter you are, the better for you: your reactions, your creativity, your memory, your brain, your body, everything aligns to deliver.

Lesson 3. Be present.

This goes with lesson number 2; you need to own the moment.
It’s like the infamous Flow you get into when working:
When you are present, you experience great clarity gaining momentum.
This is the ideal ride.

Lesson 4. Be humble.

Only because things work, it doesn’t mean it’s all because of you.
You might have done your share.
But it’s also a combination of luck, divine providence, good weather and serendipity that not only pushed you up your ladder but also kept some morons out of your way.

Be humble and be grateful.

Lesson 5. Be simple.

Do you know the difference between the need-trigger versus the want-trigger?
Not to dig deep into psychological research, but there are, roughly, two ways to make us want things.
There is the need trigger. Example: I am in the city, and I’m hungry. I look for an eatery.
There is the want trigger. Example: I am in the city, I am not hungry, but I walk past a bakery and see and smell the amazing cakes. I want one NOW.

When your luggage compartment is reduced to a slim backpack and whatever the rear fender can hold with a spider strap, you start to think like an ascetic.

Life gets more„Do I really need it?“ is such a powerful mantra.
In Sartrean sense, it frees you from the anxiety of too many choices.
Do I really need it?
Do I really?
Do I?

And this, Adventurer, is when a „no“ makes you smile!

Lesson 6. Be in charge.

Riding means there’s only air between you and the asphalt, you and the elements, you and other machines.
Riding means that you experience the road firsthand.

When you go by car, at the end of the journey, it’s your legs and back that went dead, but you did not much: you got into the car, you cursed, you steered, you got out of the car.

When you go by bike, at the end of the day, your entire body can tell a story of where you’ve been.
You’ve been in the middle of the journey, and not just sitting in a driving cubicle.
You’ve relied to nothing much that yourself and your machine.
You’ve been in charge.
Your own support system.
Your own best friend.
You did it!

Lesson 7. Have fun.

Yes to being alert, yes to being safe, and yes to being attentive to others.
Yes to be the master of your body, your machine, and your fate.
But remember to enjoy the ride.

For in the worst case, this life is all we’ve got.beautycalypse-harley-attire


What’s your most unexpected source of life wisdom?
Share in the comments!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

9 Responses

  1. I love your Harley’s guide to life. I could probably find some wisdom from driving my little car…little cars are considered “old lady” in this town and it’s most interesting to observe how drivers in big cars and sporty cars react to my sensible “old lady”-car .

      1. Yay for the Fiat Uno. I have had my Toyota Echo for almost 14 years now…wow…that surprises me a bit because I still think of it as my new car. 😀 :D. In NZ we like to think we are a clean, green country but our choice of cars doesn’t reflect this. Just out today; Our city is becoming ute-opia. I hang my head in shame except when I am driving my much more echo friendly little old lady car. 🙂

          1. We have lots of SUVs too. In terms of the rebuild it makes some sense but people did manage to build quite well before the invention of large cars. Which reminds me; my grandfather, in his young days, helped his father who was a plumber. The story is told that my grandfather used to bike (bicycle) to some of the jobs he had to do, stay the night, and bike home the next day. Not that efficient, transport wise, but he was a good apprentice plumber and the work got done. 😀

  2. Din

    Well,… what can I say. Not very unexpected but I could use the same headlines for one of the most important things in my life: Sports.

    The real unexpected thing so far: Yoga was the only little piece in my life that was able to bring some quietness and calmness into my mind. I am not really someone who can sit still although I am not very hectic, but seems I need something to do every minute. So, Yoga is a challenge every day, but once I dive into it, it’s fun to find calmness and clarity.

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