Drivers and Passengers

Tyler Zach

Which is easier? Being a driver or a passenger?

I think that most of us would say that being a passenger takes a lot less work and is often times more enjoyable. Just think about it. When you are a passenger, you can sleep as much as you want on a road trip, read, relax, talk to other passengers, and not worry about going off the road.

Many of us, if we had the choice, would choose to let someone else (friend, parent, church, etc.) drive our lives while we sit back and relax. There is less pressure and less responsibility. If your car ever does veer off the road, then you can blame it on someone else instead of taking responsibility for it!

People justify their actions and make excuses all the time – trying to blame their “crashes” in life on other people whenever possible. Bill Clinton did a great job of this when he gave his five-minute speech to the public about his relationship with Monica Lewinski. Check out this analysis of his speech (549 words total):

# of words devoted to self-justification: 134 words
# of words devoted to attack on the prosecutor: 180 words
# of words devoted to saying it’s time to move on: 137 words
# of words devoted to regret for actions: 4 words
# of words devoted to apology: none

When John F. Kennedy was going through the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he took full responsibility for everything that happened. And guess what? His popularity in the U.S. went up!

Recently, I drove my Explorer into the ditch after hitting an ice patch on the road near Crete, NE. My car went down the steep ditch backwards until I ran right through a barbwire fence. Did you notice that I said, “after hitting an ice patch” instead of saying “after driving too fast for the weather conditions?” Do you see how I tried to justify my action?

How do you justify your daily actions? Do you follow Clinton’s example or JFK’s?

Are you in the driver’s seat of your life? Or do you intentionally put other people there so that you can blame them when your life crashes?

*content taken from the book “Habitudes: Images that form Self-Leadership” by Tim Elmore”

Leave a Reply