Who’s Your Driver?

03 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

When we speak of someone being a driven person, it usually comes out in admiring tones. You can just imagine that look on a recruiting poster somewhere, someone with jaws clenched, his eyes burning with fervor and determination, and a look of steely resolve urging you to man up and get things done, yeah!

Or perhaps not. Another definition for driven is ‘obsessed’. A close relation is ‘hag-ridden‘. Ahem:

  • Tormented, harassed or worried.
  • Overburdened by fear or dread.

So, who — or what — is your driver?

See, when I think of someone being a driven person, what comes to mind is someone (or some thing) else is holding the reins.

Maybe that person has an axe to grind, or something to prove, or feels that he has something to make up for, but whatever the reason, it’s big, and it’s the one sitting in the driver’s seat.

If you feel that you’re a driven person, would you want that, to just be in the passenger seat of your life?

I’ve nothing against people with big reasons, reasons that spur them to make changes in their lives, and the lives of others, for the better.

It’s the part where these reasons are the ones that act as the unconscious deciding factor when it comes to you living your life. And it’s worse if these reasons are the type to drain you of your energy even as they push you to do the things you do.

You should be the driving force in your life. No one, and nothing else, should be that for you.

If you feel hag-ridden by personal issues, don’t let them overtake you or push you into untenable scenarios. You can get help to deal with them. The issue here is of balance. Sometimes being “overburdened by fear or dread” of a possible event can push you to the opposite end of the spectrum in trying to deal with it.

For example, if you’re afraid of losing all your money or running out of it, you could be spooked into buying only stuff that’s on sale, two-for-one — such a deal– then hoarding it in anticipation of the coming financial apocalypse.

Or scrimping so hard that the joy is sucked out of your days.

If you’re afraid of lay-offs you could burn yourself out trying to prove your worth to your company, leaving little energy over for yourself or for your family.

See how fear can push you into corners?


Another issue is of control — and there is quite a bit of difference being in charge and being in control. You’re not in control of what happens in the world, but you’re in charge of how you react to events in it. On the way to your goals, you can still determine how you arrive (in terms of attitude), if not always how (in terms of the method) you arrive.


How can you reconcile the issues of balance and control?
Pull back and assess things logically, while letting the emotion move to the background. Things said or done in the heat of the moment can leave burns that are very hard to deal with after people have had time to have cooled off. Hopefully you only have to experience this once or twice before getting it.

Think of an extended road-trip. Spur of the moment is exciting, if you’re willing to accept the risks, but if you’re really determined to enjoy the trip, you’d prepare. The steps are the same.

  • Get a map, the lay of the land; so you can avoid danger spots, see rest spots, and plot for pit stops and refueling.
  • Map out where you want to go and which routes will you take advantage of (plus alternates, if ever), which can determine how will you break the trip down into sustainable segments.
  • Make a packing list so you won’t be left hanging in case there’s an emergency (you never know, you know?)

Don’t go on autopilot, you’ll miss your life that way. Take the wheel. Be your own driver.

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