“Fall seven times, stand up eight” – Unknown
For me, this is more like “kill the car seven times, start it up again eight.” The process of learning and actually driving a stick shift car has been such a process. I really battled with even setting foot in the car, knowing that I was about to mess something up. Still, the lessons that it gave me are ones that I hope to carry with me throughout the rest of my life.
These lessons include:
You always have the option to start over
Life, for the most part, is a bunch of people struggling, trying something new, finding out they hate it, and then starting over. Realizing that, it becomes a whole lot less intimidating and immeasurably more exciting. You’ll feel that freedom and strength when facing the unknown.
Check your blind stop constantly
A blind spot is a scary, scary thing. It’s when your view, often of something important, is obstructed.
No matter how hard you try, your ability to be fully aware of a situation or someone’s intentions is close to impossible. So, checking your blind spot, either in life or when driving, is really important.
Give yourself grace to fail
One of the biggest things I would tell myself while learning how to drive is “Mia, I am allowing you to mess up.”
This one simple sentence brought overwhelming peace to me and it continues to do so. Those around you are often more empathetic to you than you are to yourself. You have to face the sometimes harsh reality that you are not capable of being perfect and that is perfectly fine.
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Practice, practice, and more practice
When I first started driving a stick shift car to work, I would wake up all too early on the days that I’d open. That meant setting an alarm for 4 am, getting ready, and driving the stick around.
I had comfort in knowing that close to no one was going to be on the road and that I could mess up without any serious consequences. I would drive for fifteen to thirty minutes in a circle, practicing going up little hills, stopping and starting. You know, things that you take for granted in an automatic.
Simply put, you’re doing okay, you’re doing your best, and that’s all that matters. So, the next time you get knocked down, don’t hesitate to get up and get going again.