Your Life: Automatic or Manual?

I love cars. Old restored hot rods, unique sports cars, pickups, even jacked up 4 wheel drives. It’s energizing to see the creativity people come up with in restoring, building or modifying a classic.

I learned to drive my dad’s Jeep when I was 9. I fell in love with driving immediately. That 1945 military Jeep was a lot of fun. ( still have it) I bought my first car when I was 14. Stomping on the accelerator, pushing down on the clutch, grabbing gears… controlling the speed and direction.   It was exhilarating! Always has been. Having complete control over every movement of that machine: Just awesome!

My first car had a 4 cylinder 4 speed. The thrill I got from shifting when I wanted, going as fast as I wanted in whichever gear. Not a ton of power, but was still able wear out a set of brand new tires in less than a year! It may have not gone fast, but it had a clutch and an emergency brake, and I learned quickly how to use both to have fun! (No, I don’t drive like that anymore)

After owning several more cars into my early twenties,  I did some trading and ended up with my first automatic. An old worn out 3/4 ton pickup. Big V-8 and poor gas mileage. I didn’t have to shift, it did it on its own. Although it was neat at first, it soon grew old. Put it in drive and go. It did the fun stuff for me.  Boring. I didn’t even have to think, plan, or be aware of what gear I was in. It was a lot like an auto pilot switch and, as I mentioned, I liked the feeling of control and speed. That includes when it shifted.

This parallel came to me not so long ago while I was working in my garage. Don’t all of us go through life in one of these two? Manual or automatic?

Do you purposely make choices with the intent of creating a specific outcome? Or, are you running in D (drive)? That is, going through life on auto pilot. Making choices by default…. allowing life to happen to you. ‘I’ve always done it this way, so I am going to keep doing it this way’…Letting life shift for you instead of making your life do what you want. Sure, that automatic makes things easier, but there is a downside to going through life this way; It creates comfort zones.

Feels good to avoid the risk sometimes, doesn’t it? Not a lot of problems, troubles or confrontations happen when you’re in drive. We take the path of least resistance. The consequence to this is we will never get what we truly want by staying in that space. That’s not where the rewards are, and that’s not where you will find your dreams, passions or goals, fulfilled. Nor is it where growth or true fulfillment are found. The only thing you will find there is complacency.

Any athlete, body builder, business person, coach, doctor… (the list is lengthy) will tell you if you want to go after what you want in life, a price will have to be paid. This means that at some point you’ll have to get rid of the automatic (auto pilot) and go for the manual. You decide when to shift. You decide how high the engine will rev. You decide how fast you want to go.

This keeps you aware of your surroundings, your choices, and your life’s direction. The hills you will need to downshift for. The freeway where you can put it in overdrive, push that skinny pedal down and go for speed!  When you need to downshift to slow for a corner. All of it on purpose, by choice, none of it by default.

That is creating a life by choice, not chance.

Have a fantastic week, be blessed.




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