While traveling abroad, I noticed a stark contrast in the way people drive in other countries versus the United States. In the country I was visiting:
People drove on the left side of the road instead of the right.
The steering wheel is on the right side of the car instead of the left.
The painted lane dividers are present but completely ignored by everyone.
Everyone honks and flashes their headlights to get around each other.
There is little distinction between where pedestrians walk and cars drive.
It’s complete chaos!
I am familiar with driving on the right side of the road, with a left-side steering wheel, in very organized traffic with signs and lights that everyone follows. This country was literally the complete opposite of this.
As someone who will get out of his comfort zone when the opportunity presents itself, I took a chance of driving a car several times across town in this chaotic traffic.
One day, I came across a driving challenge that scared the shit out of me.
I was driving family to my uncle’s house and drove into a neighborhood made up of street shops and vendors. It was an extensive network of narrow alleyways that was about a car and a half wide.
The roads were made of pure dirt and half-beaten concrete. It looked like a complete mess.
What made me nervous was that the traffic was two-way.
There were motorbikes, rickshaws, cars, trucks, fruit carts and people traveling all over these roads. This was congestion would’ve put New York City traffic to shame.
My body tensed as both of my hands gripped the steering wheel, constantly turning it left and right to avoid oncoming traffic. I checked my mirrors often to make sure I didn’t hit anyone.
There were countless times where I thought there was no way I could squeeze my car through this alleyway.
I was absolutely certain my car would get scratched and dented from hitting someone.
I was waiting to hear that *bump* on my car from some street vendor pushing his cart filled with dried fruits as he rushed to squeeze past me on his way to the marketplace.
The entire trip took 10 minutes, but it felt like an hour.
But something strange happened that completely baffled me:
I experienced absolutely no collision with ANYONE during the entire trip!
Someway somehow everyone that I drove past moved their way around my car. Even when it looked like no one was paying attention to me, people would make room for my car to pass. It was like they knew I was coming and happily got out of my way.
They not only did that for me, but for everyone else on the road as well. I tried by absolute best to not hit anyone either.
The entire traffic experience was a sweet orchestration of movement that everyone on the road took part in.
It almost reminded me of fog. Every time you step into fog, it clears up and makes room for you to see the next step in your path.
As long as I continued to drive forward in the tight alleyways, people made room for me. I safely made it to my uncle’s home in one piece.
I turned off the ignition and breathed a sign of relief.
As I reflected on my driving experience, it suddenly dawned on me: This trip was a perfect representation of what it’s like to pursue your dreams.
The road to your dreams is filled with challenges and uncertainty. It’s daunting, uncomfortable, and fills you with fear and anxiety.
But when you pursue the path and encounter those difficult moments, you find that solutions begin to present themselves.
Opportunities come to you in the form of ideas, tools and people that will help you navigate those tight spots. These opportunities show up out of nowhere, bringing ease to your journey. When you get stuck and feel you can’t move forward, that is when the breakthroughs appear.
Don’t be afraid to journey down the road to your dreams. It may be unfamiliar to you. You may feel you don’t have the right skills. But you need to have courage and start moving.
Much like how the traffic opened up for me as I drove down that narrow alleyway - the path will open up for you as you pursue your dreams.
You really nailed that analogy between the driving conditions and pursuing your goals. So many of us stop short because of fear and uncertainty, me included.