“To Build This Motorcycle, First Cultivate Peace Of Mind”

Here I am at my son’s place in the East End of London. Things are looking up here now that the Olympics are coming to town. My feet throb from the endless walking round the giant (well, compared to the wonders of malls in the US it’s medium size!) shopping centre Westfield. My son showed me a bird’s eye view of the entrance to the Olympics next year from one of the stores.

In John Lewis’s, I saw a poster of a beautiful young woman in sports gear. The caption underneath was,

“You don’t know me now. But you will!”

It struck a chord. Who am I about to hear of next year for the excellence of their achievement that I don’t know yet?

What one thing do you keep on doing that will make all the difference to whether people know of you in 6 months?

In that endearing movie, “Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, two young men blessed with enthusiasm though not much wit have a series of funny adventures by going back into history. One of the catch phrases is, “Be excellent to each other.” The conclusion from the film was that it doesn’t matter whether you’re bright or not, whether you’ve had an education, whether you’ve had position or a good start in life, if you commit yourself to excellence in all you are and do, you will make an impact. You will lodge in people’s minds as someone to respect. You will be remembered.

One of my favourite books (old hippy that I am!), is “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig. Amongst other things, it’s a search to find the meaning of values. The narrator discovers that to the Greeks, the word “quality” doesn’t mean “good”. The origin of the word actually means “excellence”. And at the heart of excellence is peace of mind. Pirsig mentions the first comment on a Japanese instruction manual on building a motorbike,

“To build this motorcycle, first cultivate peace of mind”

And he rounds things off with this,

“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all”


About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
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