I found myself the other day trying to explain to my wife why on a motorcycle you're often better off to accelerate your way out of trouble rather than jumping on the brakes and trying to stop.
It all comes down to energy states and energy management.
On a motorcycle (and a friend who is an Air Force officer told me this is true of fighters as well) you spend your time managing the amount of energy (on a bike, generally speed) available to you. The more you have, the more options you have.
So when you see what may be a dangerous situation developing — you develop sort of a sixth-sense about this — experienced motorcyclists will often downshift, making more acceleration available, and often even speed up slightly. This keeps your options open, so if that car, that looked like it just might, really does pull out in front of you, you have more flexibility in deciding what to do.
More often than not, that means, giving it the gas and squirting around the car — adding energy to the bike.
The thing is, once you jump on the brakes you're committed — stopping is now your ONLY option. Once you've removed energy by slowing down, maneuvering (dodging) becomes harder, and adding energy back is difficult as well.
All this to say, I think this is largely true of life as well.
In our lives we manage various energy states as well, money, sleep, food, our personal store of "energy."
The more you have, whether it's physical energy or mental energy or money, the more options you have. Not that it's bad to commit to a course of action, but once you've done so, you're committed.
It come down to this, whether you're on a motorcycle, in a car, flying a fighter jet or just living your life, the more you can keep your options open until you must commit, the better off you are.
However, once it is time to commit to a course of action, do so, and do so fully.
Don't second guess, don't try to change your mind, move forward.
Which is just another way of managing your energy state and keeping your options open.
All IMHO, of course.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.