Life is like driving, or driving is like life, either way, there's a connection. While Epictetus might have said life is a good drive interrupted by brief moments of traffic, Schopenhaur would have said life is an endless stream of traffic, separated by brief interludes of open road. I think both are correct.
Sometimes you're in gridlock and nothing you do or say will allow you to progress. Other times, life is an empty highway with no shoulder for police to perch on, where you can virtually choose your own speed.
To me, driving is most like life when you are moving at a reasonable speed with a group of other cars around you. Some are moving a little slower, and others are moving a little faster, and everyone is traveling towards their own chosen goals and destinations. Some of those goals and destinations you share with your fellow drivers, and others are all your own.
Statistically, most people do not get speeding tickets. I've read and heard from police officers that the best way to avoid being ticketed is to "play it safe" and neither lag behind the pack, nor drive ahead.
The lesson I gleam from this advice is that if you want to be like everyone else...don't be slower than those around you...and don't lead. With all respect to Officer Gornpop of the New Bedford Highway Police, I don't want to be like everyone else, and I don't think anyone should aspire to either.
The prevailing philosophy of the road encourages the waste of potential. We need leaders, just as we need followers, but followers are always in mass supply, forcing us to always keep watch for those types of leaders who push their way to the front rather than those who wind up there as a twist of fate.
Good leaders inspire us to new heights. They fly over valleys before the bridge is built and show us where we are all capable of going. Leaders shine a light on the dark corners of our imaginations and help us bring about changes in ourselves. Leaders don't know certainties, for if they did, everyone would brave new trails. Leaders can be heroes, in both their success and their failures.
R.H. Macy had seven stores before his flagship store in New York was a success. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. English novelist, John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books, and before writing the music to West Side Story , Leonard Bernstein struggled for years trying to bring Mystic Pizza : The Musical to Broadway. Even in their triumphs, these leaders were never certain they had what it takes. What leaders have is far greater than certainty though; leaders have vision.
Leaders wrestle with naysayer talk of insurmountable odds, and know too well that with every chance taken, failure is waiting to erase their courageous efforts from the pages of history. We remember leaders because they try and try again and their failures neither humble them nor force them into the obscurity of mediocrity. Leaders don't play it safe. Leaders don't stay in the middle of the pack.
That said, being a leader is in my nature and I will always take it upon myself to don that mantle and secure my position at the head of the rest. I believe in, and learn from, the road behind me, and trust in my abilities to find success on the path I forge before me.
I am a leader...and that your honor...is why I was doing 90 in a 55.