Lessons from My Driving Classes

I had set the Goal to learn driving 4 wheeler vehicles 2 years ago. As usual I was procrastinating on this goal and did not take any initiative to join any Training School. One fine day, I enrolled my self for the driving classes and got my Learner’s License made. I was given the 8:00am – 8:30am slot which required me to get up at least an hour earlier that my usual time. It was a big challenge to brave (!) the early morning sleep during the initial days. Today when I look back after my scheduled classes are over, after almost a month, I am convinced that it indeed was a Very Good Learning Experience.

I decided to share the things that I had learnt in the past 30 days of My Driving Classes and here I am writing this post.

1. The “Early to Rise” Habit :  I usually wake up at 9am, read the News Paper, check my email, get ready and will be leaving home for work around 10am. As I had to go for my classes at 8am I was forced to wake up at 7:30am and I got free by 8:30am after my class. I had an extra 30 minutes with me and was clueless about what to do during this time for the initial couple of days.

I started planning my day and listed all To-Dos for the day. This helped me getting my day organized and accomplish more in a day than I usually do. Slowly this practice gained momentum and I was planning the next day’s activity before I went to sleep. My 30 minutes in the morning got free again and I used this time to complete one Important Activity of that day which gave me a sense of achievement which was a booster to complete the other planned activities for the day . The morning time was ideal as I was at home and hence wasn’t interrupted by colleagues, urgent phone calls / emails.

The early morning class was also useful in another manner that I could walk a little and breathe fresh air which helped me be physically and mentally active for the day. The extra oxygen available in the mornings enhanced my blood circulation and also made me sleep peacefully in the night.

Now, that my classes are over me and my wife have decided to make morning walk a regular habit.

2. Self Realization : During the initial days of my classes I was not getting confidence in myself as I was doing lots of mistakes in changing gears and keeping the vehicle in its lane. The instructor was continuously instructing me to do this and do that, which gave me feeling that I am learning slow and it is going to be difficult for me to complete the course within time allowed. One day another senior student had to drive the vehicle when I was sitting on the back seat. The way this student, who has taken more classes than me, was driving was worse than mine. This gave me a sense of relief and confidence that I am better and made me feel high about myself. After some more days another junior student was to drive the vehicle while I was sitting on the back seat. The way this student, who has taken less classes than me, was driving was much better than mine. This immediately made me realize that there are people much better than me.

Both the students helped me realize that you are neither above anyone nor below anyone in intelligence and skills. Both Intelligence & Skill are relative and it is always better to be humble and is also very important not to jump into conclusions based on a single side of a story. You also start doing lots of mistakes due to overconfidence, as the senior student was doing, just to show his skills off. It is always better to approach a problem, small or big with the same calm mind, keeping the end result in mind, as the junior student was doing, not to show his skills off but to drive the vehicle safe and sane.

3. Handling Obstacles : Whenever I encountered a speed breaker or a damaged patch on the road, my instructor always told me that I should always be alert and look out for obstacles of any nature and when one comes up then slow down, evaluate the obstacle, change lanes if required, cross it slowly and then gather speed. It relates to all obstacles expected and unexpected that we encounter in projects at workplace or at home regularly. Evaluation of the situation about why an activity is not moving according to the plan is very essential in trouble shooting and also making hasty decisions in troubled times may mostly end in damaging results. At times we may need to change our course of action depending on the situation. The Slow & Steady always wins the Race, but, only if you are Fast & Consistent, you can beat the Slow & Steady.

4. Knowing Vs Imparting : One day my regular instructor was not keeping well and hence another instructor had come as his substitute. The substitute instructor is more experienced (spent more years in the school) than my regular one. but, the ways employed by the experienced (!) instructor were not in tune with my level of understanding as he assumed that I was knowing a lot of things about what he was teaching, considered me illiterate and gave me a smile which meant, “Don’t you know this simple thing?”

Knowing things in and out does not qualify one as a Very Good Teacher. How good is the person able to transfer it and making it easy for others to understand matters the most. In my opinion, a Good Teacher is always a Good Trainer who is respected from heart. It is very important for the frequencies of the student and teacher match. The substitute Teacher failed to impress me only because our frequencies did not match and neither he nor me made any efforts to match that.

5. Try the Road Less Travelled : I usually take a route during my class. I was very comfortable with the usual route taken as I know, where the speed breakers are, where the potholes are, places to shift gears, places to slow done. I can drive through that route very confidently and anyone noticing me drive will definitely think that I am a seasoned driver. One day my instructor told me to take a different route than the usual one. I was very pleased with my driving and was pretty confident that I will be able to drive through the new route comfortably. The drive was not as easy as I thought it would be. It was very difficult and even after a few meters I started getting the feeling that I know nothing about driving and will not be able to complete this route. Slowly I started gaining confidence as this new route posed new challenges, made me do mistakes and eventually made me learn new things.

Performing an activity the way it was performed in the past deprives one identifying a new and simpler way of performing it. Trying out new ways enables one to make lots of mistakes and learn new things of performing an activity faster, better and smarter. Remember, I was asked to do the same thing (drive) which I was comfortably doing in the past days and had gained confidence, but in a different surrounding. If, one needs to perform an activity the same way throughout his life and that too in the same surrounding, then bothering to travel the new way may be insignificant. But, for the one who is always wanting to improve the processes around, in these modern and technically advanced days, Trying the Road Less Travelled will make more sense.

To conclude, I had learnt lots of values both personally and professionally during my Driving Classes and have mentioned a few above. I am putting the things that I have learnt into practice. In case if you are wondering, if I have got my Driving Licence am able to drive comfortably without any assistance, I am yet to do so. One can never reach the set goal, if not focused and committed to the cause. 🙂

Cheers !


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