I didn’t think January 2009 and I were going to get along. However, things have picked up considerably.
The inauguration has left me, and the country I love so much, hopeful and proud. It seems to me that everyone’s walking a little taller and daring to hope with a few less reservations. Irregardless of which party you’re aligned with or which wonderful man you voted for, that’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve also seen what proved to be one of my favorite movies ever (Gran Torino). Given the fact that Clint Eastwood is one of my three favorite actors, ever, I’m especially thrilled.
Recently, the positive vibe continued in a very big, literary way, when I had the pleasure of reading a fantastic book, Road Rules: Be the Truck. Not the Squirrel. Learn the 12 Essential Rules for Navigating the Road of Life by Andrew J. Sherman. This is an intelligent, incredibly well-written, humorous, motivating, and inspiring book. If self improvement is high on your list, this should be the next book you read.
Many times, when I’m reading a book, a particular phrase or word will keep popping into my mind. While reading Road Rules, the words/phrases were “Brilliant!” and “Ooooh.” Okay, so maybe Oooooh doesn’t qualify for a word or a phrase, but it certainly qualifies for this book. I was struck, again and again, by the clever analogies author Andrew J. Sherman uses while comparing living to driving.
Trying to pick a favorite section of the book would be like trying to pick a favorite aspect of eating chocolate, but I do want to share one of the favorites. In Chapter 3, Happiness is a Clear Windshield, the author points out ways we become complacent – behind the wheel as well as in life. He points out how this impedes our vision. After giving maddening examples of how drivers allow their vision to be hindered (by not taking 10 extra minutes to clean their windshield, for example), he brings the subject, beautifully, into real life terms:
If you need to refill your metaphorical windshield wiper fluid, replace worn down wiper blades, or get your defogger to work properly, then be proactive and make it happen. If you have the power to remove impediments to your vision, do so without delay. Never, ever be complacent or reactive in accepting a clouded outlook when you have the ability to enjoy clear sight….
Our ability to thrive, perform, succeed and enjoy life relies on our ability to see things clearly, to make the right decisions and to have all of the information and perspectives available to make these decisions. If we have the power to remove the impediments to our vision, we should do so with gumption and without delay.
About the Author
Andrew J. Sherman is a world recognized public speaker and author. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business for over 20 years. He has been quoted as a thought leader in countless publications, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on numerous television shows such as CNN an CNBC as well as many radio shows.
Andrew J. Sherman has authored 17 books on business strategy, business growth, and strategic planning. His fans (and I’m a card waving member) are hoping to see a Road Rules for Business in the near future.
Oh, yeah, did I mention that in 2002, Fortune Magazine named Andrew J. Sherman as one of the Top Ten Minds in the nation? More Books by Andrew J. Sherman
The following is from Road Rules, by Andrew Sherman (published by Elevate). †Copyright 2008 by Andrew J. Sherman. †Reprinted with permission of the author.
For most of us, our daily commute or a drive to the mall is not a particularly enlightening experience. We are more likely to suffer from boredom, road rage, frustration, or even a fender bender than we are to embrace life’s most meaningful lessons. But what if I told you that virtually everything you needed to know about navigating the road of life could be learned during a routine errand run, behind the comfort of your steering wheel?
So many of our core life lessons are reinforced by the simple act of driving a vehicle:
- when to speed up and when to slow down
- when to yield and when to come to a complete stop
- when to add gas and when to add oil
- when to allow another to pass you by and when to make your move
- when to proceed with caution because children are playing or there is construction ahead
- when to give your keys to a friend to avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- when and how to communicate when it is not clear who has the right of way
The lessons that we learn on the road that get us to our destination are in fact the same lessons that we need to understand to achieve our goals in life. The rules that we must follow to maintain our driver’s licenses—our privilege of sharing the road with others—are the same rules we need to embrace to lead an enlightened and productive life.
Road Rules was written to provide insights into the process of transforming what we know to be the best practices and habits of safe and purposeful driving into living a meaningful and goal-driven life. A life that is devoted to helping others, helping ourselves, and achieving financial and wealth goals.
It is my hope that this collection of insights and stories will help you navigate through life’s challenges, roadblocks, twists and turns, steep declines, and upward opportunities. My goal is to help you look at things just a bit differently and to solve problems just a bit more creatively.
Sometimes adjusting the compass dial only a few degrees in one direction or another can put you on a much more efficient path and be the key to survival and prosperity.
Think back to your first driving lesson. You take your place behind the wheel, learning the critical difference of when to accelerate and when to brake. You learn how to drive on a straight and focused path and the importance of taking into account the actions of others around you. The excitement of hearing the engine for the first time when you start the car is offset only by the nervousness of wanting to avoid hitting something or someone, which will surely cause damage.
So many aspects of the basic steps in driving a vehicle also parallel many of life’s more critical lessons—which are all wrapped up in an activity that most of us take for granted and without giving it a second thought. We seem to have lost sight of our ability to find joy and excitement from the simple act of driving. You are traveling just inches above the road at 65 mph on an open stretch of road on a beautiful day! Let’s learn to reconnect with the happiness to be found in the simple things in life that make our quest for the more complex easier to handle.
From ROAD RULES by Andrew J. Sherman (published by Elevate). †Copyright 2008 by Andrew J. Sherman. †Reprinted with permission of the author.
Buy this extremely important, profound, humorous, and wonderful book on Amazon: Road Rules: Be the Truck. Not the Squirrel. Learn the 12 Essential Rules for Navigating the Road of Life – if, that is, you want more from life.