I’ve been driving for 12 years. When I was studying, there was a period when I drove more than 30km to university every morning. And when I was working as a medical sales representative for 5 years, I spent even more time driving – easily more than 2000km every month. Nowadays I drive almost 40km (one way) to my girlfriend’s house a few times a week. So I’ve been spending a great deal of time on the road really. When I’m on the road, I usually listen to the radio, and do a lot thinking at the same time. Over the years, I’ve realized that there are many life lessons we could learn from driving, and I’m going to share with you here…
1. Do not assume (most of the time) – Well, I will explain why I say ‘most of the time’ in point no.2. Even when it is a one-way street, don’t just look out for cars coming from one direction. Not everyone follows the rules. Don’t take things for granted.
2. Sometimes you just have to assume (because there’s no choice!) – When we are at an intersection and the traffic light turns green, we just have to move. We have to assume that the traffic lights system isn’t faulty and shows green at another side at the same time! Sometimes there’s no way to find out every single detail before going ahead, we just have to take a step of faith.
3. Be far-sighted – Always set our sight ahead, don’t just focus on the immediate car in front of us. By looking far ahead, we will be well-prepared to respond accordingly e.g. when we see that the traffic much farther are slowing down, we can anticipate the car in front of us braking anytime. We should learn to be visionary – see the big picture, plan long-term.
4. Look at the mirrors often (reflect) – Being aware of what we see in the rear view mirror and side mirrors can help us avoid accidents. For example, when we see a speeding car weaving in and out of traffic behind us, we might just want to slow down and let him go pass. In life, reflecting on what’s behind us (our history) helps us to avoid making similar mistakes in the present and future.
5. There are always U-turns – When we are distracted on the road or simply not being mindful, we might miss a junction. Do not dwell on our mistake and keep feeling regretful for too long. Focus on finding the nearest U-turn and get back on the right track the soonest possible.
6. Sometimes making a wrong turn might be a blessing in disguise! – From experience, turning at an earlier junction or overshooting in my journey has helped me discover new sales prospects, shortcuts, nice food and even beautiful scenery. We might have a detour in life – learn from it, make the most out of it.
7. Take a break, let someone else take over the driver seat – By sitting at the passenger seat, we see the surroundings from a different angle and we might notice things that we have never seen before. Besides, our driver might prefer a different route to get to the same destination so we get to learn a new and perhaps better way!
8. Take into account how our passengers feel – We may be safe and confident drivers who never get into accidents but if our passengers feel that we always brake abruptly or overtaking dangerously, then we are simply not giving them a sense of security. In life, we are responsible to make the people under our care feel safe and assured.
9. Examine our car condition – Tyres with insufficient air or a low quality engine oil causes higher petrol consumption. Our inner qualities (attitude and the condition of our heart) determine how efficiently we live our life.
10. Find a driving companion/co-driver – Most cars are made for 2 to 5 people (some for 7). Utilise as much of our car capacity as possible. Carpool – it’s environmentally friendly. It’s also more fun travelling with others. Sometimes we need a co-driver or navigator. The journey of life is meant to be shared. Find someone with whom we could travel on short and long trips, in sunshine and in rain, uphill and downhill, on the highways and on bumpy roads. Be fruitful and multiply – fill the backseats too! 😉