Lessons From Defensive Driving 4

08 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Thought the series was finished last week, didn’t you? Well, we do have one more part to go after this, and then it’ll be done. In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to continue reading uncle Bob’s 70 Rules for Defensive Driving as well. You never know, the life you save can be your own.

Rule #31: Avoid Head-On Collisions
I’ve underlined the key words from certain sentences in this rule:

  • Anticipate those places and situations where a head-on collision is possible.”
  • Pay attention and look far down the road. If you aren’t distracted, you’re likely to see the vehicle coming long before he’s a problem.”

Anticipate, pay attention, look far ahead. Filter out the distractions. It’s about taking control by merging your planning skills with the power of your imagination, supporting that by experience, and fueling everything with a dash of fear to keep you alert.

Think ahead. Prepare. By practicing your decision-making skills in non-stressful situations, you can refine them and enforce good habits that will support you in harsher times, or even save you under pressure. This is where imagination and fear can help you the most — instead of fearing the worst, go ahead and imagine the worst-case scenarios — and prepare for them as well.

Rule #38: Don’t Prevent Others from Passing
There’s enough business out there on the internet to help support your small enterprise, especially if you’ve already found your niche. You don’t have to resort to mud-slinging, underhanded or unethical practices just to get yours.

On the internet, you ARE your reputation, and gossip –once out– lives forever. Act with integrity, focus your energy on quality products or services, and them promote the heck out of them. Besides, your competitors today may be your partners tomorrow. You never know, you know?

Rule #43: Recognize the Futility of Rushing
Rushing can suck you into pushing things past their natural limits, and when I say things, I mean people.

Health, stress levels, fatigue, attention…we suffer when we push too fast, and for too long. Whatever metaphor applies — spread too thin, burning out or burning the candle at both ends — it always has to do with levels. Energy levels, amount of attention, or time — and the lack of one, two, or all too commonly, all three.

How can you address this issue? You practice pro-active patience, not just re-active.

Minus the necessary sleep and self-care (eat, bath, whatnot), you only have X number of hours in a day to live your life — and that includes the work you do to support that life. Make your time count.

Know your priorities (what’s important) and rank your activities to live up to that importance (living guided by the reason WHY it’s important — freedom, security, control, etc.).

Give each activity the time it deserves, and leave enough space in between so you can catch your breath and center yourself before going onto the next activity. Cramming stuff into your day is a sign of time mismanagement and mixed priorities — you can do better.

“It is far better to allow yourself an early start so you can get to your destination without having to rush. When that’s not possible, and you are unavoidably late, or traffic is extraordinarily snarled, then relax and recognize that getting impatient and making driving errors that may cause you to have a collision won’t really save you any time. If you’re going to be late anyway, does your boss really care if it is seven minutes or nine minutes? Late is late, so there’s no point in getting more stressed about it.”

Rule #44: Make Allowances for Your Physical Limitations
One part of taking care of your greatest asset (namely YOU), is not pushing when it isn’t needed. This counts for worrying, too. There’s only so many factors you actually can control. Needing the push of pressure just so you can perform will burn you out. It’s an artificial, external thing — one which can help under certain situations, but the best fuel comes from the inside. You choose to do what you’re doing, you’re not forced into it.

We make mistakes when we’re tired, or rushed. Here are a few lines that point that out:

  • “[…] the fact is there are times when we’re NOT up to the job — and shouldn’t. Know when to say no.”
  • “Some of our physical disabilities are preventable.”
Along these lines, may we again recommend the 4-parter, You and Your PC.

Rule #45: Start Rested — Keep Fresh
You’re not a computer — hibernate doesn’t quite cut it, nor standby. Uncle Bob says “Living to see your next road trip can depend on your staying rested on THIS one.” So, be aware of stages.

Pre-planning, execution, observation, correction, analysis….there’s a pause between stages. You can rest in the lull. Take that rest. Know when the shift is over, the day is done. Let go and rest, you can pick it up tomorrow with a fresh perspective.

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