To give merit and full disclosure, I’m not a race car driver. Ha! I have been through high speed, off-road, evasive driving course a couple times. I’ve also raced my car a couple times but am by no means a race car driver. That being said, I’ve learned a lot from my experiences and after hearing something from a video my wife played last night I came up with this analogy. Life is like racing. Life is precious and a gift. I’ll choose a Ferrari to represent my life. Maybe a Bugati.
The car is life and we navigate through the chicanes, up and down slopes, around obstacles, through turns going fast or slow. We care for our car and we take care of it, or we should. Turns are like important decisions. A new direction. If you go into it too quickly, you may come out of it sliding off course; worse yet, crashing! It’s OK to be running life quickly and at full throttle when we’re going straight down the path we’re on, but when we approach those decisions, those curves, we need to hit those big ole Brembo brakes just before we enter the curve. That compresses the front shocks, thus, compressing the front tires and widening out our contact patch. That’ll give us the most traction possible for the turn. It’s basic vehicle dynamics. Once we have hit the apex of the turn, and have our wheels in the direction we wish to travel, we can come off the brakes and apply power. The tail end may get a bit squirly but that’s OK as long as our steer tires are pointed in the direction we wish to go. Think vision and motivation as the direction. Traction, being grounded, is very important and having the right tires with proper inflation is more important. We rely on those tires like we rely on wisdom and good people in our life to deliver it.
Vision and focus is important. You know how when you reach over to turn up the radio while driving and you end up hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road? There’s a medical term for that phenomenon but I can’t remember it right now. Where your eyes go your body goes and it’s easy to get distracted. Focus and vision on a specific goal can be disrupted when you take your eyes off the prize. It’s like looking THRU a turn and focusing on where you want the car, life, to take you. During one training session the instructor would put a giant piece of cardboard in front of us so we couldn’t see. He would hold the steering wheel and tell us to maintain 30 mph. Then he would tell us to take the wheel and react. He’d jerk the cardboard out from our field of view and we’d see cones directly in front of us. Everyone smash those cones on the first try. Then he explained to find the “driveable terrain” and focus on that instead of what we’re trying NOT to hit. We’d do it again and navigate around the cones. So, if you’ve lost control and are going off the road, don’t stare at the tree you’re trying not to hit. You’ll hit it. Focus on an open area and navigate to that point. Life is the same way. If you focus on the negative or problems in life, those will remain and you’ll hit them. Instead, focus on your goals and on the place you wish to be. You’ll get there.
Life may slow down a bit when approaching or going through sickness, a divorce or some other major issue. Maybe even a time of unemployment or just a lull in life. Slow down and navigate those obstacles methodically. They’re not permanent and can be worked around. You can’t drive through a slalom course the same speed as a straight away. You have to slow down, feel the ebb and flow and stay in control. You’ll eventually hit that straight away again to hammer down! As far as those people who try to derail you goes, know how to recover. Much like someone trying to do a “Pit Maneuver” on you while driving. Know how to take it and get back in the race. You wanna know the trick? Stay on the gas. Yeah, you’ll spin around but you won’t flip. Maintain control through the maneuver. Most importantly, know how to avoid it or perform the counter maneuver!
If the sun has set and darkness is upon you, being cautious pays dividends. Once time we had to drive laps around the track with no lights on. Nothing. Total darkness. Our saving grave were the night vision goggles we had. It wasn’t easy but that little bit of illumination helped immensely. To me, my faith in God in my light. When the darkness begins to surround my life, my car, I have to trust in the illumination, the light, from God above. If I trust patiently, navigate the obstacles methodically and trust my equipment I’ll make it through.
I saved my favorite part for last. Simply put, we don’t drive staring in the rearview mirror. We have a giant windshield to help us see the road ahead. Staring in the rearview mirror is staying stuck in the past. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. It’s in the past, it’s behind you and it has no bearing on what’s ahead. We can’t change the road we’ve traveled behind us, we can only choose and navigate the path in front of us. Sure, reflect on the past. That tells us where we’ve been and how far we’ve come but get those eyes back to the road ahead. If you don’t and you choose to drive through the rearview mirror there is no doubt that you’ll crash somewhere on the road ahead. I like my Ferrari so I choose to look forward. How about you?
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