Learning how to drive

Trying to Passing my driving test, exposed me to some of the worst advice I ever received.

“You’ve failed your test, just book straight back onto it…”

this didn’t consider that I should reflect where I went wrong or find a better teacher – this resulted in a waste of time and money.

Learning

A Pattern of Failure…

The first time I took my driving test, it was a disaster.  I had got myself all worked about passing my test that I was shaking before I even started.

I started the test by nearly running over the student in front of me and it just got worse from there.  The test eventually got me to pull over and told me that my driving was so bad that it wasn’t safe to complete the test.

He asked if I wanted to walk back to the test centre with him.

I said “no, I will wait in the car” it was awkward enough as it is.  I didn’t want to walk back with him.

I then had a 15 minutes wait of shame, where I sat in silence reflecting on the disaster that just happened and feeling sorry for myself.  This was the last thing my confidence needed.

Eventually I saw my out of shape, 60+ year old driving instructor struggling up the road looking all sweaty and red in the face.

I can’t remember what was said but I sat in silence as he drove me home looking a bit uncomfortable.

A week later…

I didn’t rush to book my next driving lesson, but a week later I found out that my driving instructor had a heart attack and was no longer able to teach.

Many thoughts went through my head and I felt terrible – did I cause the heart attack? Stupidly I thought loyalty was the answer to my guilt, so I decided to wait around until he recovered.

Begin again…

With the long break, my first step was to begin again – shaking off the rust that I had built up and rebuild my shattered confidence.

But I still failed my second time, my third and fourth time.

I began to get angry.  I was failing for the same mistakes and my driving instructor just spent lessons chatting away and telling me how he got one of his students with a loose top to keep reversing round the corner so he could look at her bra!

My instructor was not doing his job properly.  I had been a student of his for about two years and I estimate the experience cost me about £2000!

Fifth time…

My fifth time would be my last opportunity before I went off to University.  I needed a driving instructor who was dedicated to me passing.  Instead I got stories of him bragging about an affair he was having.  I failed again.

Moving away to University I did intend to pick up my driving there, but I never did.

Later…

It was about seven years before I started thinking about driving again.  The break meant I had put the ability to drive on a massive pedestal.  My mindset put passing my driving test with climbing Mount Everest.

By telling myself I couldn’t drive I had created a self-fulfilling prophecy – I couldn’t drive because I told myself I couldn’t.

As life went on there were moments I thought “this would have been much easier if I could drive”.  So I decided to finally confront my fear  I was going to pass my driving test.

I had began changing my mindset – I kept telling myself

“If all the bad drivers on the road managed to pass their test – I am sure I can!”

I passed my theory test.  So then I looked for a new instructor who would build my confidence.

In my first lesson I was shakey, the feeling of getting behind the wheel scared me.

That was soon knocked out of me and after 8 lessons I went in for my driving test.

6th Time

On my sixth time I felt confident and ready.  In the back of my mind I didn’t want to fail, I had got to the point where I just wanted to put learning how to drive as a past objective in my life.

In the end I did pass.  I really believe that the difference between the sixth time and all the others is that was the only time I was telling myself I could pass my test.

In all situations – I was right.

The lessons I learnt were:

  • What we tell ourselves in life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, therefore when we want to achieve something we have to start by telling ourselves that it can be done.
  • When you keep making mistakes and fail, don’t just carry on regardless – reflect on where things went wrong and make an effort to learn from these errors and improve
  • Your teacher/mentor is important – although your life is your personal responsibility, it is also important that you take action for who guides you.  Your teacher can make the difference between winning and losing
  • Don’t be afraid to cut the ties of those who don’t have your best interests at heart.
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