I ride a bicycle, one of those super light road bikes that you can pick up with one finger. When I first started writing this kind of bike I was, to say the least, very nervous and somewhat tense, holding onto the handlebars tighter than I should. A bicycle of this type is very responsive to the slightest movement of the rider and does not respond well to over control, it acts more like an extension of your body. We ride 30 to 40 to 50 miles per ride on Saturdays and a little bit during the week. We ride on a variety of different kinds of road conditions from very smooth to somewhat rough. Probably the most important lesson I have learned about writing this bicycle is how to avoid debris in the road or the bicycle path.

It took a long time for me to realize what the problem was in avoiding obstacles and getting the bicycle to respond quickly to what I wanted it to do. I would be riding down the road at 15 to 17 mph and very quickly a clump of grass, a stick, shards of glass, or a rock would appear in front of me. I would look at the hazard and start pushing on the handlebars and twisting my body to maneuver around the it only to either hit it or come very close to it. No amount of tensing or pushing on the handlebars seem to work, in fact the more I tried to evade the problem the more I would careen towards it. Sometimes we sneak in and out of gated communities around the area where we live. Some of the gates are like the arms that come down in front of the road by the railroad tracks. And there's just enough room, a little more than shoulder width, to get through. I would approach this gap with trepidation and usually end up slowing to a crawl or stopping altogether and walking the bike through the gap.

Well I finally learned what the problem was. The problem was that I was looking at the obstruction and not where I wanted to go. The bicycle is so responsive that it would follow my body which was following my eyes towards the hazard. The solution was to look at the point on the pavement next to the obstruction where I wanted to bicycle to travel. It works every time. It took a while for me to believe that I could not force the bicycle onto another path while looking at the obstruction. Sure, sometimes I could wrestle the bicycle around the obstruction while still looking at it but it's a fight. It finally sunk in just how easy it really is to get where I wanted to go, only look at what I want, not at what I don't want.

This has been an important lesson in other areas of my life as well. What we think has far more impact on what we physically do, how we sound, how we behave, and how we maintain rapport with others on a subconscious level than we realize. Now when a hazard presents itself in the normal course of my life I know for a fact that it does not pay to focus my attention on the obstruction. What works is to allow the obstruction to be in my awareness, but just like the rock in the road or the gate across the road I leave it to the side and focus my attention on where I want to go. My fears just slide right by on my left and my right whenever I do this.

I know we are all told to think about what we want and not about what we don't want. It sounds logical and it makes total sense yet we don't do it very often, or as much as we should. It's counterintuitive to not focus on a threat when it presents itself, it just plain feels unnatural. So what my intellect was unable to grasp I was able to learn by running over a few rocks in the road on my bicycle. After a little practice it doesn't feel unnatural at all anymore.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Andrews is the author of The MindTech Principles: Solving the Self-Help Paradox one of the most comprehensive personal improvement manuals available today. Jim is also a certified professional life coach and management consultant living on the west coast of Florida.