What is Ride of Your Life about?
In Zilca’s own words:
The book is a guide to inner peace, composed over a 6,000 mile, coast-to-coast solo motorcycle ride I took in 2010. I started in New York and rode to California and then down the California coast line. On my way I interviewed different scientists and authors like Deepak Chopra, Phil Zimbardo, Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Byron Katie. The collective wisdom of these experts and of the many people I met on the road, along with the meditative experience of riding in solitude each day, yielded very interesting insights that form the guide.
What was his motivation for this project?
Also in Zilca's words:
I was just turning 40, and being very successful in business and in my personal life, but unsure as to who I really am. I think that many people experience this type of feeling in midlife, where they know what they do and where they live, but not exactly sure who they are. It made me feel restless, so I went out to rediscover my identity, quiet the restlessness, and regain my inner peace.
This book is a little bit travelogue, a little bit self-help/self-discovery and a little bit memoir. If you sum up the three parts it is a great little book packed with wisdom. Here are some of my favorite nuggets:
From Dr. Barbara Frederickson Zilca learns bad experiences affect us more than good, but good is more frequent than bad.
Her first book, Positivity, describes various research studies on positive emotions. The findings are astounding in their simplicity and have to do with the number of positive emotions a person experiences during a day compared with the number of negative emotions, a ratio that is simply called “the positivity ratio.” If that ratio equals three or higher, you eventually go into an “upward spiral” – a state of flourishing. If your daily dose of positive emotion is less than three times the negative, you risk going into a negative state. Simply put, to flourish, you need to experience three times the good for anything bad. (Pg. 45)This makes so much sense to me. On days when I come home from work thinking what a lousy day, yet can’t name the reason for my bad day – just a lot of small negative events this study explains it. My bad day is due to my positivity ratio being upside down. I am not experiencing enough positive emotions to counteract all of my negative encounters.
An effective strategy to become happier:
Cultivate openness so that a person can recognize, notice, and appreciate the good that is already taking place in his or her life, and this way, tip the positivity ratio in his or her favor. (Pg. 45)Instead of using “be positive” as a motto she prefers “be open,” or be appreciative and kind.
From Deepak Chopra he learns flexibility is the very source of inner strength: “Infinite flexibility is the secret of immortality.”
Flexibility is an attitude more than anything else. It means that I don’t need to always be rigidly attached to anything: a situation, a relationship, a point of view, or an outcome. If you are flexible, the challenge is gone. (Pg. 165)Lastly, I am adding traveling between Routes 61 and 152 to my bucket list. Zilca describes this landscape as surprisingly Mediterranean. I am also adding the Gila National Forest to the list which reminded Zilca of Switzerland.
Ride of Your Life is a great little book packed with nuggets of wisdom. I recommend it for mid-lifers experiencing a crises or anyone at any stage of life who is looking for more. My only negative is the book seemed to end rather abruptly. I get it the ride was over and Zilca went home, but I would have preferred more exploration of what he learned and how he applied these new ideas once he returned home.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?