My dad is and always has been interested in cars, tires, racing, basically driving in general. He even bought his first car before he could legally drive. In addition to having raced in the past, he also taught driving/racing classes, worked in tire testing, and has rebuilt motors his whole life. Despite how passionate he is about it all, he’s most passionate about safety. He required my brother and me to take a defensive driving class at the Pocono Raceway with professional racecar driver Bertil Roos. During my experience in this course, I learned one particular concept that is also relevant to conscious living. The idea was to always look where you want to be going. This is important in driving because if someone near you is driving recklessly or you’re trying to avoid an object in your path, if you look toward the threat, you’re more likely to drive in that direction. For example, most drivers have experienced unintentionally drifting out of their lane when looking for an address or being distracted by something on the side of the road.
A particular incident during which I used this concept occurred when I was still a teen driver. I was leaving my Ohio neighborhood early one winter morning to go to work over the holiday break. There was snow on the ground but not the roads. I proceeded as I always did, safely but not on alert. As I approached the intersection to turn onto the main road, it became clear that I was driving on black ice and sliding rather than stopping. I looked left and saw a car coming toward me at the exact pace that would have T-boned me if I remained at my current speed or continued attempting to stop. Because of the confidence I received from my driving class, I looked where I wanted to go—straight ahead into the lawn across the street. Rather than slamming on the breaks, which was what my instincts told me to do, I kept my wheels straight, hit the gas, and got enough traction and speed to miss the car by inches. The concept of looking where I wanted to go kept me from focusing on the potential threat, and allowed me to focus on the safe place across the street.
When it comes to life challenges, I feel this idea is applicable and extremely helpful. When we are facing tough times or triggering events, people or situations, we tend to focus intently on the difficulty itself. That’s a very normal and natural response but it can also keep us in a place of challenge. If we can acknowledge what’s going on, give our present emotions some attention and then release them, we can focus on where it is we want to be. Sometimes the shift is not immediate. However, often times we can experience something in the moment if we’re willing to focus our attention to what it is we do desire. Keep this in mind the next time your child complains, your coworker drops the ball on a group project, or you get an unexpected house expense. Focusing on the positive and the emotions you deeply desire may help you reach a favorable outcome in less time.
Where have you been focusing your attention?
What do you choose to focus on now?