In today’s world, our most common mode of transportation is by car (or ‘your private vehicle of choice’). Whether we’re driving to work or running an errand, cars have become a staple in our lives. But cars are more than just a way of getting around. In fact, they can provide lessons in personal development.
‘How so?’ you might ask.
Let’s imagine getting into our car, starting the ignition and ready to head out to town to do some grocery shopping. Most of us can identify but how does it relate to personal development?
In this scenario, we need to first decide that we are going to the grocery store and then set out to accomplish that goal. If we don’t have a clear destination in mind, we would then be driving around pointlessly. With aimless effort, we will be less likely to achieve much success.
Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have a lot of options, take some time to think through each one and make a realistic decision on which makes the most sense. Having a clear goal will have a huge impact on how you spend your time and help you to achieve more overall i.e. your productivity and results.
Once the destination/goal is set, we will then begin our drive. This is referred to as the “journey” stage of our personal development. The journey of driving to the grocery store will test us in many ways. We might encounter bad traffic, bad weather, bad drivers or other obstacles that could slow us down or even prevent us from reaching our destination!
How do these relate to personal development?
Just like obstacles on the drive to the grocery store, we will experience similar challenges in our lives at work and in relationships. It can often be difficult to figure out what the right thing to do because there are often many variables to consider.
How do we decide which path to take?
This is a question that many people struggle with because they don’t know where to focus their energy and attention. If we spend too much time thinking about all the different options, we could end up wasting a lot of time, getting stuck in a rut and not see any progress. On the other hand, if we simply choose a direction and focus on that without much thought, then we might be short-changing ourselves on getting better results.
In this instance, seeking help or guidance from a more experienced person would be something worth considering. They will be able to coach us through the process and if we follow their instructions closely, we ought to get to our destination faster. That doesn’t mean, however, that we won’t make any mistakes along the way.
Mistakes are one of the best teachers in life. With guidance or coaching, we can learn from other people’s mistakes, and hopefully not make too many of our own. We can also find motivation and encouragement from others who have gone through a similar process and had some rate of success. This is akin to a driver switching on a GPS application like Waze or Google Maps, that gives them turn-by-turn directions to their destination and minimise time spent on the road.
In our personal growth journey, we also need to navigate different roads and obstacles. It can be very challenging at times but there will also be plenty of successes that we can celebrate to keep us motivated enough to keep moving forward towards the goals that we have set for ourselves.
Have you noticed what we look at when we are driving? We often check the rear mirror or both the left-and right-side mirrors, and we also study the road and car ahead of us. Why do we do that? What are we looking out for or observing?
Observing others is a powerful skill that can be used to develop our abilities and accelerate the process of learning.
Whenever you see someone doing something that you admire – whether it is good or bad – ask yourself why they are doing what they are doing and use those insights to help you move forward. Let’s consider our habits, thoughts or behaviours as turning the steering wheel of our car. The direction of the steering wheel is what keeps us on track on the journey to our destination.
When we begin to see the patterns in our behaviour, this helps us to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves, which will ultimately enable us to achieve the results we desire. The great thing about this is that we can do this for free by simply observing our behaviour and having the courage to ask honest questions and truly listen to feedback received.
By focusing on our goal and working towards achieving it step by step rather than trying to rush to the end, we will build momentum. This will move us towards the finish line even though it may seem that we are a million miles away. By remaining focused on what we want to achieve and continuing to take steps in the right direction, you will be amazed at how quickly we reach our goals when we make small little changes every day.
Learning to be patient and not to expect immediate results can be challenging but if we want to achieve success, we need to give it time. It will come to us if we allow it. The crucial point is this – the driver of the car is us and it is our choices that determine how quickly we get to our destination and what the final result will be like.
We need to take full responsibility for our actions and make sure what we do are the right things to take us to our goal.
Whatever the outcome is, we need to be accountable and be willing to accept the consequences as well as make the necessary adjustments so that we improve in the future, rather than continuing to make the same mistakes. Does it not sound similar to driving a car towards our destination?
The main lesson here is that we cannot expect to achieve anything meaningful in life unless we are willing to put in the required effort. Therefore, when thinking about making changes in our lives, we should not set our sights on a goal that is unrealistically high. That will only serve to disappoint us when we encounter challenges along the way as our end-goal would seem too far away. Rather, we should focus on making incremental improvements.
By being honest with ourselves and being realistic about what we can achieve, we will be much more likely to make consistent progress and find success in our lives, rather than constantly setting ourselves up for failure by not keeping our promises to ourselves or others.
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