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Finding Focus at 100mph

10 Dec 2012

I believe for everyone there is an activity that can stop the noise of life and bring focus to the moment, to the actions necessary for performing the activity and nothing else. As the activity progresses and life’s true obstacles enter slowly back into the mind there is a clarity surrounding them that was not present before. Our attention is focused, there are no distractions, the flow of the activity offers an environment for a pure, tactical approach to our thinking.

I have found this flow while riding my motorcycle. When it roars to life and the cycle of clutch releasing and accelerating to 9,000 RPM, shifting and repeating through all 5 gears, there is a rush that clears the mind and demands complete attention to the machine and navigating the road. Once the speed levels out, and the adrenaline slows I am able to clearly navigate my obstacles.

This monologue by ‘Jax’ Teller, in the Sons of Anarchy show nails it:

“Something happens at around 92 miles an hour. Thunder headers drown out all sound. Engine vibration travels at a heart’s rate. Field of vision funnels into the immediate. And suddenly you are not on the road – you’re in it, a part of it. Traffic, scenery, cops – just cardboard cutouts blown over as you pass. Sometimes I forget the rush of that, that’s why I love these long runs. All your problems, all the noise, gone. Nuthin else to worry about, except what’s right in front of you.”

Focusing on what is right in front of me is not always a simple task. Life is awkward, messy and distracting. The effects of influences reside for a long time, hanging in the shadows. Activities that clear the mind are important, allowing what is truly in front of me to surface.

Of course twisting 115 horses can generate a lot of adrenaline, but there are other activities that can create the same environment. Activities that require focus, a desired outcome and I enjoy doing will have similar results: Photography, playing chess, running, hiking and so on.

Finding a way to clear the mind and focus has been good for me. So many people say that they feel like they are going 100 mph. The problem is that they are not.

  1. a great read, Jim – I can relate. I have a few outlets for this kind of calm 🙂

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