People! I can drive!
What does this have to do with personal finance or financial independence? Everything and nothing. Read on.
My History with (not) Driving:
You see, for a very, very long time driving for me was a dread. I got my driving license when I was 18. I had my driving lessons on a manual transmission car. It required a lot of coordination and I never had enough bandwidth to check the mirrors to see what’s going around the car. I could barely handle the gears!
I had no feeling about the size of the car. I was afraid of being honked or laughed at for my slow reactions. But I was most afraid of breaking the car or hurting someone.
As life would have it, I have been living in cities with good public transport or/and bike lanes. I didn’t have a real practical need to own a car. So I never drove.
The few times I drove after I took the driving license was in my father’s old school, Russian, impossible-to-handle-for-a-beginner car. And oh my! Were these drives eventful! I almost got us both killed! I got kicked out of the car and shouted at.
That’s when my BIG, FAT, HAIRY FEAR of driving was born.
The situation became even more ridiculous when I took up a job working on a car navigation solution. How was I going to develop a product for drivers, without experiencing driving myself?!
Deep inside me I knew I would absolutely love driving and I can be good at it. I knew some day I will overcome my fear.
This day, my dears had come! I drove 2000km on a trip in South Africa!
What was the tipping point? I think it was the moment when I wrote down the goal and put it on the wall. I committed to doing all these steps which would eventually help me reach my goal.
- I didn’t give up on something I knew I would love and be good at
- I kept my driving license valid. I’ve had it for 14 years. It almost expired once because I forgot about it
- I read again all about the driving rules and signs
- I planned a road trip to a country with good road infrastructure
- I drove 10 hours with a driving instructor prior to the trip
- I drove every day of the trip
- Back home, in Berlin, I opened an account with DriveNow – a car sharing service
- Every fear or goal can be overcome step by step following a well-thought plan
- It is not so difficult or dangerous to drive a car (as long as you follow the rules)
- An automatic car is much easier than manual transmission car (Duh!)
- I indeed loved every bit of the experience, especially the freedom of driving along the beautiful South African coast
- Driving on the left is very easy to get used to
- Parking is also manageable, it just requires more practice
- The navigation solution features I was working on make much more sense now
- My boyfriend is a brave man. He handed me the car keys without any hesitation and was the navigator for the whole trip.
So, what is the big deal about it?! A fear of driving is as dreadful and it looks as impossible as any other goal. It’s the small battles which take you to the final victory. If I can overcome one of the biggest fears of my life and relatively quickly, THEN reaching any goal is possible, even financial independence. So can you!
Have a thought about your biggest fears and what’s stopping you. Reevaluate these with a calm mind. Are they really so big and scary? Pick your biggest FEAR, make a plan how to overcome it and fight your way out of it!
*Update: I was feeling so confident and loving the SPEED that I must have ignored a speed limit. A week after I got back in Berlin, I got a speeding ticket … Thank you South African traffic policemen for keeping it safe!