I think my business colleague was a bit nervous when he first got into my Eagle Talon sports car. I was driving us to a few appointments that day. About halfway into our day on the road together, he said that he was pleasantly surprised about my driving. For some reason, he thought that since I drove a black sports car, I would be driving like a wild man. But much to his surprise, he noticed that I never sped or drove very aggressively. This is when I told him about my story about an incident many years ago that changed my driving habits forever.
Negative Experiences That Change You For The Better
I was a young man in my mid twenties just starting my career. I decided to reward myself with a new car. It was a black Toyota Supra, the first car I ever bought on my own. After seeing the black Ferrari on Miami Vice, I wanted a black sports car as well. I seem to have a thing for black sports cars as I’m currently on my fourth one now and the next one will likely be a black Mustang.
I was driving in the fast lane westbound on the QEW, which is the highway that runs around Lake Ontario from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It was a Canadian winter day but the weather was clear and so were the roads, or so I thought.
Like many other vehicles on the highway, I was doing about 120 kilometers per hour in a 100 kilometers speed limit. Everything was smooth sailing on the highway until my car started to somehow lose grip on the road. I spun around 180 degrees and actually saw the other cars coming toward me as I went across all three lanes. Fortunately, my Supra ended up off the highway on the far side shoulder.
It‚Äôs a miracle that I didn’t get hit by any of the other vehicles as I went across the lanes but the side of my car did hit a post which resulted in my side window smashing apart. I was not hurt though so I came out extremely lucky.
What must have happened was that I hit some ‚’black ice’ on the highway. This is a term we use here in Canada that describes ice on the roads that drivers can’t see. In my case, I was driving too fast in black ice conditions I was not aware of.
This single negative experience on the road changed my driving habits forever. Although it didn’t change my personal taste for black sports cars, I no longer speed especially on the highways during winter months. Quite often in questionable winter days, I’m actually well under the speed limit and don’t mind almost every other vehicle on the road passing me, even if they are driven by little old ladies. I would rather make it to my destinations in one piece.
Life Without An Eraser
My real estate agent sends me regular newsletters and in one issue, I saw the following quote by John Gardner.
‚’Life is the art of drawing without an eraser’.
This quote pretty well sums up how to realistically live our lives. We all make mistakes and have some negative experiences in life. We don’t have giant erasers to erase the bad circumstances we all go through. However, if we learn from these negative experiences, we can live our lives better in the future much like how the developing artist learns to draw better each day.
In my Toyota Supra black ice accident, which I can’t erase, I quickly learned to change my driving habits. As a result, I have been accident free for the last twenty five years as a driver ever since (except for one small incident when another driver hit my car in a shopping mall parking lot).
Each day is a learning opportunity for us and having some bad experiences from time to time is just reality. We can’t erase these bad experiences whether they are accidents, failures or mistakes, but we can certainly learn from them.
Clint Cora is a motivational speaker, author and Karate World Champion. See his FREE 3-part Personal Development Video Series to learn how to expand your comfort zone to conquer even your most daunting goals in life.