When Reading The Manual Isn’t Enough

Sometimes when I speak to a group I may start the conversation or workshop off with the following story.

Years back I thought I knew a lot about motorcycles. I knew the brands, the stats, the panache one had over another and so forth. Then I decided I wanted to be seen riding the top dog of the day. So I decided to buy at the time the undisputed fastest production motorcycle available. So intimidating was this bike at the time, just for a comparison in speed: the fastest production cars even today (Porsche™, Ferrari™, et al) boast speeds of Zero to 60 in just over 3 seconds. Thirty years ago this bike straight from the crate did the same in just over two! At the time it was “the” undisputed king of speed. Period.

When I received the bike I rode it according to the manual for it was truly brand new, and there was a break in period to go through. As I read the manual and its instructions I followed them to the letter. I didn’t do this, I was sure to do that, etc. However, after a couple of weeks the bike just didn’t feel right. It just felt like I was riding a log. Yes it was fast, yes it had “get up and go” but I was left let’s say: not as impressed as I was when reading the brochure. I felt for lack of a better term: under-impressed.

Finally I decided to call the dealership and speak to the head mechanic. I told him what I was experiencing and he asked, “Well, how are you riding it?” I said, “I’m going exactly by what the manual says.” He immediately responded, “Oh, no, don’t do that. You’ll kill it!” Then he went on to explain to me that I’ve been babying it far too much. It wanted to run and that’s what it’s made for. He instructed me not to “beat it” but rather to put it through its paces. Get it up towards its top power ranges and so forth, then call him after a week if there’s no change and they’ll bring it in for a check over. So – I did.

After putting down the phone I immediately went out for a ride. I hit the nearest highway and was proceeding up the on ramp. I looked over my shoulder and the coast was clear and decided, “Here we go” and cracked the throttle – hard.

The bike momentarily seemed to wheeze like it was going to stall, then out of no where it took off out from under me as if I were attached to the solid rocket booster of the space shuttle. So fast, with so much torque before I could look at my gauges I was doing near 70mph. I was still in 1st gear!

My fingers were holding on by the mere tips, my legs were nearly off the pegs, and for what little grasp I had it was all that was holding me on from the bike coming out entirely from underneath me leaving me left there rolling on the pavement. I was never so shocked and scared in my life. (and have yet to be to this day)

When I finally grabbed control I immediately slowed, pulled over, and stopped right there on the side of the highway. I got off the bike and started walking as I took off my helmet trying to gain my composure. (I also needed to check my shorts) I was shaking, I nearly lost control and dumped. However, this was what the brute power of this bike was made to do.

I had never been exposed to that type of performance so I had no idea of what to expect. So the fair, “OK” performance I was getting previously was still better than anything I had experienced before, and it was still putting other bikes to shame I was riding with. Even as I was “babying” it. So I never questioned what I was doing – I was questioning the bike.

After that day I knew exactly what I had, and what to do with it. I never had a day of riding that went by as unimpressive. Each ride was exhilarating, and more. Yet, had I followed the manual, word for word, never questioning, I would never have enjoyed it as much as I did. Not only that, I probably would have persuaded others from buying one. For when I was asked, “How is that?” I might have only replied, “It’s OK.” Where now I would say , “Are you kidding me? Like nothing else on the planet!”

Many of today’s motivation or business “How to books” have a lot in common with my old bike’s manual. They’re written by people who read a book, that read a book, on how a book should be written. And now, they want you to read their book.

Like the engineers and lawyers that put the manuals together – they’ve never truly or actually rode the creation and put it through the paces that it’s designed to be put through.

Business and entrepreneurship has a lot in common with performance machines. They’re there to be ridden – driven – put through their paces – to flirt with disaster, and more. If you find yourself feeling of late as if this whole idea of entrepreneurship or motivation really isn’t giving you the kick you thought. (or need) Maybe what you’re doing is reading too many “manuals.”

Maybe what you need to do: is put the book down, get out there, and really “crack the throttle” and move. Experience what it truly means to be in charge of your own destiny. Take that chance, commit to that new project, make that goal of doubling, tripling, or even more your sales or earning projections.

Don’t just “think” about what it might feel like. It’s right there, within you. All the power you need is right there between your ears just as if it were right there in your hands or beneath your foot.

You are the motor. You are the machine. You are the control. Just put down that 295th edition of “How to be you in 598 easy steps” and get out there, trust in yourself, crack your throttles – and hold on.

You’ll be amazed what you can achieve when the one who becomes unbridled – Is You!

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr