Sunday, September 28, 2014

Looking through

Let me tell you about another time when nothing happened. Mirabel racetrack, I just caught up to another rider and we get to a fast left curve. A very nice one that's intimidating at first but that can be taken quite fast. I'm pretty much right behind him, going to the right, to go in more on the outside hoping to pass him by apexing the curve earlier and out-gunning him on the next straight.

Things turned interesting when he started drifting out of the race line and moving out in front of me earlier than I'd planned. So I have him in my face, and he keeps drifting out, and I realize that he'll run out of track pretty soon. And I'm looking at his bike right there and I realize that I'm following him and that I'll also run out of track pretty soon. It's target fixation, I keep going his way. And I remembered the saying about riding behind other people, not to look at them but to look through them. Finding a spot ahead that's reasonably close to where you want to go and look there and make sure to keep focusing there to make sure the obstacle in front never gets center stage.

I looked through and saw my fuzzy rider friend go on his dreadful way out of ample adherence and towards the green. Let's mention that since that track in built on what was previous a sizable parking lot, the green around the track is actually green painted cement. So there's still plenty of traction to correct the situation while out of track before the guard rails convince us to turn around. Hence our fuzzy friend not having too much of a sweat before coming back on track almost full speed.

4. Ride your own ride

The accident that didn't happen is the one caused by following someone else instead of following my own way.  And that seem to often happen in my daily life. It can be following a teacher, it might be to follow bosses, or parents, family, friends, or maybe actors, politicians and car salespeople. It seems like the way to test what we learn is not by staying behind, but by getting our shot at assimilating it by experience, and going at it our own way, probably leading the teacher for a while so he can see what he thinks of it. Keep a closed loop like that, to always share feedback and grow from it. Just following for too long doesn't let us assimilate and keep us waiting. If you've followed a politician for a while, maybe you should try being one now? If you've followed a boss for a while, maybe you can try being one? Trying to develop a better synergy with employees then any of your teachers did for you? If you're following art, are you doing enough of it by yourself? Music maybe? Or try this, you've been following a computer for a while, led by it's interface and what it offered you, kept in tight restriction of which many you don't even realize? What about programming it for a change? Guiding and leading it instead of following what's already there. Exploring it's workings by yourself, letting your artistic side express itself through a programming language or system configurations? Maybe just using new skills to build a website, or better yet write a program nobody have thought of before. Like minecraft. I can't recall anything like it before, and it was just distributed on the internet, and it got quite an impressive success. Pretty much one guy's project out of the beaten path, going his own way.

Hey, you know that linux is just that, too? Our friend Linus, having followed minix for long enough, took his own way and started Linux. And lead an impressive team across the Internet who are all following him. Many leading their own project too, that builds into the whole Linux and Android environments we're using. All of it lead by people's passion going their own way.

The worst is when we forget to do it. Forget to look through, our own way, even when just behind someone and always being just as fast as they are, never faster, and crashing just as hard as they do whenever they do. I hope it's worth it, because it's easy to stop learning from it and forget that we've had enough and that we should just go on. It's a pretty deadly trap, you'd better be an adrenalin junkie on the side to wake up from the stale state and spend some time alive.

Why would you let yourself be led anyway, even by your family? I'm not suggesting to go alone, but to share the lead and each go your own way together. To each lead our own lives in the same direction, racing each other for fun and profit...

So, whenever you're riding behind someone, take inventory of where he's going and what he's doing and how he's doing it, but always look through and keep your target straight ahead. Maybe you'll learn that he takes the left turns slower and that it's a good opportunity to pass him. Maybe you'll learn that you can start braking a bit later for that curve, or that taking a later apex into that one can give a pretty good exit. Or maybe you'll just wait and pass him in the long straight. But you won't follow him into that guard rail when he crashes. And you won't have to keep waiting behind because he's going slower than you'd like to go. You'll just keep going and pass him when the opportunity presents itself. Then you'll open the throttle and go full speed ahead with your own internal guidance system in front, finding your edge and having fun. More fun than you've ever had when you were behind. Pushing your limits and letting him follow and learn from you if he wants. How you take that turn and use it to pass people. Or how to change position on the bike without upsetting it.

Never follow without looking through and never follow into ditches. That'll be good.


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