Skidding

Have you ever been driving, suddenly lose control and panic, thinking, what should I do next? Of course, you only have a split second to decide and act, which isn’t always enough time. So, because you feel like you need to do something, you react by steering hard in the opposite direction. This simple act of overcorrecting causes you to skid, increasing your loss of control.

Driving instructors will tell you to take your foot off the gas pedal, not to brake and to steer gently, but firmly in the direction you want to go. Sure, simple.

However, knowing what to do and being able to do it become two very different things.

Of course, there are lots of reasons why vehicles skid and it’s helpful to know about them, so that you can protect yourself and whoever else is with you.

Not only is it easy to skid in a vehicle, but it is also easy to skid around the corners of life. There are a lot of hazards and pot holes and curves we don’t see. And when they do pop up, we may not be paying enough attention and get caught off guard.

One of our temptations may be to overcorrect and make matters worse. This may create a chain reaction and make it difficult to regain any sense of control.

So, what would happen if we made small corrections instead?

There are so many examples we could use to illustrate this simple principle. I’d like to suggest one for consideration, but please feel free to insert your own here, if you would rather.

Political differences are fraught with danger as topics, because feelings and beliefs are so strong, they make it difficult to see where there could be any harmony. They tend to close minds and create perfect skidding conditions. They also tend to create numerous opportunities for oversteering.

Suppose we already knew this. Suppose we were prepared for difficult road conditions in life and knew there was only a small margin of error to work with.  What might we do differently?

What about a small steering correction?

What if we searched to understand why the person we’re talking with feels the way they do. What are they afraid of or concerned about? Is it possible that we might sympathize with their discomfort, if we knew their underlying concerns? Could what lies underneath be so different from what we feel or want?

If we tried small steering corrections and turned our wheels just a little, might we find out there are places where we agree? And, if we could find some, might we not be able to discover more.

There are folks whose opinions and beliefs I disagree with. Sometimes the distance is pretty wide. But, I’ve also found that below the surface, we agree that love is the answer to everything. We just need to give it a chance to breathe.

This is what I believe happens with small steering corrections.

I realize there are obvious limits to this idea, if who we are talking about is a fanatic, incapable of any rational discussion. But that’s on the extreme end. I know some folks can not or will not alter their course, so sometimes no matter what we do, a situation will not change.

To me, that isn’t a reason not to try. If we choose to listen with as open a mind and heart as we can, we might find that there is room to ‘take your foot off the gas, not brake and steer gently, but firmly in the direction you want to go’.

It might not be easy and it might take some practice, but it might also be worth it.

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