Rough Road, Light Grip


The rougher the road, the lighter the grip.

I first learned how to ride a motorcycle in Northern Thailand, mostly on bumpy, rocky, winding roads.

My natural tendency on many of the bumpy dirt roads was to tighten my grip on the handlebars.

The rougher the road, the harder I clenched.

Until I realized that by the end of the ride my hands were in such severe pain I couldn’t even open them all the way.

I had been clenching so hard that I couldn’t UNclench.

And so it goes with work and with life.

The harder things get, the more we are inclined to tighten our grip.

As things get more serious, WE become more serious.

As things get more dire, WE become more dire.

Yet, quite paradoxically, I’ve found the opposite approach to be more useful.

As things in your work and in your life get rougher, LOOSEN your grip.

Hold the handle as lightly as you can without falling off.

You might do this by reflecting on the impermanence of everything around you; on how short our time is here on Earth; on the unlikely odds of us even coming into being.

Try to remember that this ride right here — the one you’re on — is truly and, quite beautifully, the ride of a lifetime.

So the rougher the road, the lighter the grip.

And the bigger the smile.

By Ryan Paugh

Hi there!

With decades spent exploring the outer world and the inner world, I share some of the insights I have learned along the way.

Topics include mindfulness, spirituality, growth, perspective, and career.

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