Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stickin' It To The Man

Dear Readers,

Can I be frank with you?  People who drive stick shifts are some of the cockiest SOBs around.  What am I basing this off of?  Me.  Ever since I've started driving my stick shift I've been poking out my chest a little further and swinging the stick into the correct gear shift like nobody's business.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I feel entitled.  I've always been a pretty great, and safe driver, and I can't just erase that awesome-ness.  No, I still follow the rules of the road, but now there's a sense of smugness that seemed to develop once I finally got the hang of driving my car down.

Driving a stick is almost like developing a heightened sense of driving, because your normal starting and stopping protocol now involves a few extra steps than it did before.  So, instead of watching just the car in front of you, you're watching for the car four cars ahead of that one.  You are watching everything, just to make sure that in case the person in front of you stopped short, you were already prepared for that, because if you aren't your car will throw you in a jerking frenzy that seems to announce to all other drivers:  "Hey!  I have no idea what I'm doing!  Look at me!"

But on top of all that, I realized that there were certain parallels to driving a stick and going through life's journey.

First, you can't skip steps.  Along with developing a cocky attitude with driving a stick, you also develop this added sense of responsibility of knowing that you are ten times more likely to ruin your car than anyone else.  Shifting into those gears, at the right time, at the right pace isn't just an egotistical art form, it's a necessity.  Because if you shift into the wrong gear, your car will violently let you know.

This is also true when it comes to trying to define your own level of success.  In this life of constantly comparing yourself to others, and seeing people's fame/infamy broadcast and seemingly rewarded in front of you, there can sometimes be a pressure to want to go faster than we should.  Though you might feel like you're cruising, something under the hood could be warning you that your attempts at driving in a gear that you're not supposed to be in is about to abruptly stop your journey.

Second, life will let you know when you need to shift.

While driving an automatic, there's more freedom to driving because your car does all the work for you (you lazy bastards... sorry, cockiness again).  But while driving a stick, you can only go as fast as you will allow your car to go.

So, even if you have your pedal to the floor, if you're still in only 2nd gear, you're not going any faster than 25 MPH or so.  That's because in order for you to proceed, you must shift higher.

There are a lot of times in life that we're actively in a low gear, looking to go faster, but feeling very hesitant to shift upward.  Why?  Because with that new gear comes a larger responsibility.  You're moving faster, and sometimes we feel as though we're not completely ready to feel that speed yet.  But, we're bored, in the current gear that we're in, and we'll rather complain about going too slowly than actually shifting to make a change.

Though it can be scary, and though you might want to stay in 2nd, you're never going to reach the goal you want to reach in the time that you'd like if you keep hesitating.

Finally, cruising will only take you so far.

If you're driving too fast, and decide to slow down, you can shift into neutral; the car will continue to go until either it stops, or you shift back into a gear.  There's a freedom there to allow the car to move itself while you plan your next steps.  However, just like in life, if you don't begin to execute the plans that will help you to accelerate, you're going to stop.

Progressing in life is due to hard work, and not just resting on your laurels.  Because the moment you stop working, stop striving, stop improving, that's when your momentum begins to decrease.

I'm saying all of that to say this:

We all have to travel the roads of life, in hopes of one day achieving a goal before we reach our final destination.  Though we might have plans of how we want to get there, there will undoubtedly be detours, closed roads, and we will sometimes get lost on our travels.  However, as long as we can take the time to navigate, and find a route perfect for us, the only thing that is truly stopping us is how we chose to go down that road.

Don't allow yourself to constantly ride your brakes while you're looking for your destination.  Also, don't always attempt short cuts, because you might not be built for that terrain.  Finally, the world caters to stick shifts, so move out of my way when you see me coming!  ...Sorry, cockiness again.  I'll leave on the road next time!

Stay Encouraged..


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