Never Miss a Workability Post


November 3, 2020

Years and yearrrrs ago, in order to qualify for a lower insurance rate, my parents had me take a defensive driving course (I think that was the name).   The instructor told the class something that has stayed with me to this day.  He said, “Don’t look where you don’t want to go.”  

He then showed us a series of videos of drunk drivers crashing their cars.  All of the collisions happened with parked cars, houses, road signs, and one unforgettable police officer who got bumped on his rear-end as the drunk driver drove by.  

As a 17 year old, it was shocking to see these drivers veer off the road without cause and crash into stationary objects.  What was happening here!?  The instructor wanted to show us that when you take your eyes off the road, you unconsciously steer in the direction you are looking.  This effect is exacerbated when the driver is inebriated.  So, as the drivers were distracted by what was on the side of the road they were steering their cars at full speed, straight into them!  

Don’t look where you don’t want to go was emblazoned on my mind after seeing the montage of car crashes that the instructor strung together for us.

This pretty simple idea changed how I thought about my life, which was probably more than what the instructor intended.  I realized I was focusing on where I didn’t want to go, a lot!  And this was causing me to steer my life in the direction of my imagination.  I was focusing on potential negative outcomes.  I was imagining a future where I failed.  I spent too much of my day thinking of all the ways things could go wrong.  And, I was starting to realize that if I kept that up, that is exactly where I would end up, if not in reality, certainly in my experience of reality.

Our focus and what we choose to focus on, matters.   It behooves all of us to remember that.  Because the repercussions can be as dangerous as crashing our cars.  We allocate a lot of mental, emotional, and physical resources to what we focus on -- so make sure you are using that energy to bring about what you want, not what you DON’T want.  

Now, some of you might be thinking, well isn’t it motivating to look at potential negative outcomes, so that you avoid them?!  And to that I say, sure, a glance every now and again is fine...but that is not what most of us do.  We are often riveted to our negative forecasting like a bad reality TV series.  And we all know how we feel after a marathon of that!

Negative forecasting drains us, saps us of our potential to create what matters most to us, and quite frankly makes living a drag (on a good day).  And typically while we are negatively forecasting, we are steering our car into the bad weather.

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