If you follow this blog you know I was recently in England where I experienced a ton of personal growth at Chautauqua UK. While there we rented a car for a road trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Stone Henge is a 6,000 year old…stone henge and Bath is a city built up around an ancient Roman bath house. Despite the city’s name I was unable to bathe there. Don’t make the same mistake I did and disrobe before the tour.
I get bored when I’m not challenging myself so I welcomed this opportunity to drive a car on the left side of the road for the first time. Usually I choose challenges where one of the possible outcomes isn’t death by starvation while trapped in a roundabout, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and I’m glad I did.
So you sit on the right, shift on the left, pass on the right, drive on the left, left turns on the inside, right turns on the outside, and roundabouts are clockwise. No problem. Even though I was freaked out I didn’t want to let my girlfriend and the couple we were with know so I played it cool.
See how confident I look here?
The first roundabout was a little sketchy and there might still be some Brits shaking their fists politely at me. The second roundabout was a little easier except for that curb that jumped out in front of me. Third roundabout was a little smoother, then the fourth, and so on. Seriously, this country has a shit load of roundabouts.
We didn’t pay the £15.50 entrance fee to Stonehenge so we just admired it from the other side of the farmer’s fence.
After that it was on to Bath.
Although the city is amazing and I wish we had more than an afternoon there, the roads were a nightmare! One ways, single lanes, people and buses everywhere. At one point while looking for parking and after we ran into several dead ends and possibly went the wrong way on some other roads, my navigator threw his hands up and said “I don’t know anymore…” Thanks dude. Romans don’t know shit about building roads!
When I thought about driving on the left side of the road I started thinking about all the things that could go wrong and it scared me half to death. However, people drive on the left side all time, right? Why not me? I decided to take on the challenge because I thought about all the other times when I faced difficult situations and hadn’t let myself down. This was just another one of those times.
I looked like a stupid tourist driving on the left for the first time but if I let “looking stupid” stop me I would never grow at all.
When I was learning Spanish I once commented on all the “polución” in Santiago, Chile. Everyone around me roared with laughter since polución is slang for, eh… baby batter. Whoops! The correct word to use would have been “contaminación” which I will never forget. The point is that I tried a word I thought was correct, it wasn’t, and now my Spanish is better because of it.
Driving on the left wasn’t as difficult as I had made it out to be in my head. Was it mentally challenging? Yes, but it wasn’t any more than I could handle. I drove over some curbs, cut some people off in a few roundabouts, and almost side swiped some construction cones. But I also saw some amazing sights and did something that pushed my boundaries.
If you’ve ever lifted weights then you know that you need to create micro-tears in your muscles in order to grow them. The tears repair themselves and your muscles come back stronger. Failures are micro-tears in your abilities. Every time you fail, you learn and come back stronger.
Failure is a hell of a good teacher but most of us are scared of her. She comes in the room with her wooden ruler in hand and that stern look on her face. All you can think about is the bad stuff that’s about to go down. Your imagination runs wild and comes up with “what-if” scenarios that paralyze you. Maybe if you stay quiet and don’t make any sudden movements she’ll leave you alone. I’m not interested in that life but I have to continually make an effort to step out of my comfort zone.
DRIVE IN THE LEFT LANE
Stop avoiding challenges and face them head on.
Challenges add to happiness. We’ve all seen the sad story of the lottery winner who, despite all that cash, is actually worse off than before they won the lottery. The money removed all the challenge from their life and now they have no sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. No challenge, no potential for failure, and no personal growth.
So go drive in the left lane and when Failure says “Look what you did dumbass! Get back in your bubble and stop embarrassing yourself.” You have to look her in the eye and say “I ain’t scared!” Then failure will be all like “Oh okay, let me teach you something then.”
How are you going to live life in the left lane?