TAKING THE STEERING WHEEL
TAKING THE STEERING WHEEL
This past weekend I went away with a friend, we rented a car – she did the driving and I did the navigation. She hadn’t driven in a long time so it took a little transitioning but she did a brilliant job in the end and I’m still alive to tell the tale. The only thing she really struggled with was having other cars behind her. She’d get nervous because she was concerned that they wanted her to go faster and she didn’t want to go over the speed limit so she’d pull over and let them go by. I told her not to worry about them but I didn’t push it because I wanted her to be comfortable and it didn’t really bother me. On the way back though, she was obviously getting more agitated – pulling over on the motorway was not an option. Without thinking I went into Conquering Life mode.
I said, “Forget about them. You are not responsible for their feelings or actions.” I told her she was doing everything right, obeying traffic laws and being considerate but she could only be responsible for her actions and reactions. As I said it I thought about what a good analogy it was for life – we’re all driving along in our cars, our internal realities, watching other people drive by in their personal realities. When a car comes close to ours or beeps aggressively at us all we have is our interpretation of their actions and reactions to help us understand them. While we should always be aware of those around us, in life or in a car (it helps avoid accidents of all types), our whole focus shouldn’t be on them. We should be focused on what we can control – our actions and reactions. So no matter what happens outside of our car window, we can choose how to process it. A car beeping at us won’t hold the anxiety or personal attack once we let go of that feeling of responsibility.
My friend seemed to relax a lot more and I kept encouraging her to focus on herself which she did beautifully. We got home safely and we both went back to our usual routines. A couple of days later I got a phone call from her and she told me that she wanted to thank me. She said that the advice I had given her had applied to other areas in her life. She told me that she had been worried about a situation at work because she was concerned about the reactions her coworkers might have, even though she was in the right. Once she had gotten back to work after our trip she realized that she didn’t have to be responsible for their feelings or reactions and that she needed to do what needed to be done – the reaction from her coworkers was incredibly positive and she said the whole experience was liberating.
We all tend to spend a lot of energy worrying about how others will feel and react, however there is distinct difference between being considerate and losing oneself completely in the needs of others. Conquering Life wants to empower YOU within YOUR life not in anybody else’s. Sometimes you just have to say, “Sod off,” to the rest of the world and focus on yourself! Take the steering wheel and drive like it’s your life – that’s the motorway to Conquering Life!
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