...and how i nearly got killed
Firstly, what a lovely bunch of guys! It was great to be around like-minded people from diverse roles - a Cow cocky from Invercargill through to various retired professionals - but all terrific blokes. There was even one poor lady trying trying desperately but vainly to get some sort of sense out of all these two-dimensional males. Actually it looked a bit like church - just reverse the female to male ratio - we were nearly all older Pakeha men (or "Male, Pale and Stale" as one of the fellas said) from a fairly similar cultural background.
We had classroom sessions and drills we had to do out on track for 2 days. No brakes allowed most of the time so we could focus on our drills and improve how we think. I suppose that when most people see motorcycle racing, if they bother to watch it at all, they see a bunch of 6V toys on 12V batteries - it's all hectic & driven by adrenaline. That isn't the case at all. In fact it's all about precision - becoming a human metronome.
So here are a few things I learned from it:~
- Be self-aware. Relax. Tension only makes things worse. I now notice I get tense shoulders when I get stressed about an upcoming event (usually my imagination at work, not reality anyway). I now notice this and deliberately relax.
- Don't micro-manage everything. Focus too much on the task before you and you will not flow into the next task well. Don't make tasks individual units, make them part of a whole. You will produce more and do it more easily.
- Be smooth. Even mistakes can be smooth. Set goals and markers but realise you will sometimes have to adjust them as things change.
- Have the confidence to trust your own judgment even when it goes against the more experienced voices. You might discover you're right. You might discover you're wrong. But at least you will discover.
- You have been provided with some controlled and safe environments. Use them to practise your skills. Make any mistakes in the safe environment (I think of speaking in church for instance) before moving into less well known & more risky environments. The better you are in a controlled & safe environment the better you will be in new or unknown environments. You do intend moving out of the safe environment don't you?
- Take the time to help others. I think it was Billy Graham who was asked what he would do differently looking back on his life. He said if he had it over again he'd spend time pouring his energies into a dozen people who could do what he did. Imagine how he would have multiplied the effectiveness of his life's work!
- Taking risks, learning, trying new things - these all produce humility (or to use another Bible word, Meekness). Meekness isn't pretending you're not good at something, it's just knowing we're all learning and everything is a gift. Maybe proud people are simply those who have command of their own very small world and nothing else?
- As Ecclesiastes states, under the Sun, time and chance have a greater influence on our lives than we like to acknowledge. In the end everything you have is a gift. You know, by some fluke, and unusually given their ages, hardly any on my course wore glasses. I once bought a motorcycle off a multiple NZ champion. He was nearly 90 at the time. He'd never worn glasses. So I imagine it's possible to think oneself more skilled than than you ought when all it boils down to is that you are blessed with something you had no say in. Nothing to do with your brilliance at all.
- Life needs to be an adventure or you're wasting your time and missing the point.
- God is NOT boring! Ultimately, because God is the source of real life and we will all appear before Him it is possible for everyone to experience real life. This is what He deeply desires, that everyone should live - really live.
muggins wheeling his bike round the track
So you've been hammering a motorcycle around a race track for 2 days pushing your limits.
Riskier than normal life you'd think. Nope.
Just when you think you're starting to sort everything out the unexpected happens. A day after I finished the course I was a passenger in a car with a friend, a grandmother. We were returning to her farmlet at night after attending a service at a small country church. She'd dipped her lights for oncoming cars and was passing them when a Friesian Cow loomed up in front of us. Well, in front of me really as it was nicely lined up with the front wheel on my side of the little car. She reacted brilliantly & swerved around it.
We stopped and chased the thing back into its paddock and continued on our way, the driver perhaps not quite aware of just how close we'd come to disaster. Because had that animal been a couple of feet further into the road, or had my friend had her eyes on me for a moment while we were chatting, I would have had the Cow come through the screen and take my head off on its way out the back window. All my planning, all my training, all my hard work, my big ideas - all to no avail. Ready or not, fairly or unfairly, my time would have been up.
Just as well I'm quite looking forward to going eh?
"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will appear with him in glory", Col. 4.3-4.
Christ who is your life.
Jesus is my life - alive or dead. No matter where I am.
It's the adventure of a lifetime boys!
Bring on the dancing monkeys and a song of joy.
(OK pedants - I know they're Chimps not Monkeys. Sheesh...)