Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why aren’t your dreams coming true…..?

         Time for my next lesson in my intensive, three-day defensive driving clinic at the exclusive, world-renowned Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California: recovering from and controlling your vehicle through a spin.

         I was sitting behind the wheel of a brand new, bright red, full-size Dodge Ram pickup truck (with four bald tires!) with my instructor next to me in the passenger seat. We were parked at the edge of the raceway's "skid pad" which is essentially a large, wet, asphalt parking lot --- with one orange traffic cone sitting way off in the distance.

"Now I want you to drive towards the cone, accelerate to 40 miles per hour, put the truck in a spin, recover from the spin, and don't hit the cone," my instructor said matter-of-factly.

"Well that's easy," I thought. "This parking lot's so big, and that cone is so small, the odds are I won't even end up close to it!"

         I steered towards the orange cone, accelerated to 40 miles per hour, made a hard left turn, hit the brakes, and the big red truck began spinning. As I began my recovery procedures, I watch the orange cone zipping from left to right across the windshield. But as I recovered from the spin, I hit the orange cone.

"Let me try that again!" I said, feeling a bit embarrassed that I had failed such an easy maneuver . . . .

I drove us back to the starting point and accelerated toward the orange cone . . . . I hit it again!

"What's going on?!" I blurted.

"Try it again," my instructor said patiently.

Three more tries . . . and three more impacts with that orange cone!

"I can't believe this!" I said in exasperation.

"Want to know what you're doing wrong?" the instructor asked knowingly.

"Yes! This is just too weird! Tell me, please!" I shouted, hitting the steering wheel with both hands.

"You're looking at the cone," my instructor said slowly and deliberately.
"Well of course I am!" I said in defiance. "Because I don't want to hit it!" Then I realized how stupid that sounded.

Then he calmly and purposely said, "You have to look where you want your vehicle to go."

         I thought about that a few moments and then asked, "You mean I'm not doing that?!" (and realized how stupid that question must have sounded to him too!).
"No," he said, "you're looking at the cone, and that's why you keep hitting it. You have to look only where you want to go."

"Well exactly where should I look?" I asked.

He smiled and patiently answered, "Where ever you want to go."

"So it's my choice?" I asked (feeling stupid again).

"You're the driver," he responded, lifting and spreading his arms wide.

         Three more times I hit the orange cone! It was actually physically difficult to not look at it. I was slowly learning that the truck does, indeed, go where your head and eyes point, but part of me was still compelled to look at the orange cone.
On the fourth attempt, I did not hit the cone, and actually ended up on the right side of it (but still very close!).
         I kept practicing until I could place that truck exactly where I wanted it to go: to the right, the left, in front of, and even beyond that once-dreaded orange cone!

                                                                                 As told to the Wanderer

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore . . . they had better aim at something high."
                    Henry David Thoreau

If you feel "stuck, bored, restless" thank goodness that you do! Why? Because that's your cue, your inner prompting that you're meant to be doing something higher in your life.