Okay, you non-race fans. Bear with me. There really is a point to this! I was watching an interview with last year’s Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. In only his second Sprint Cup start, the 20-year-old (same as my Dear Boy) won the equivalent of the Super Bowl.
He was so green he had trouble finding Victory Lane. “I don’t even know where to go,” came over his radio after his burn-out.
Only a few weeks later, his career lay in jeopardy by a mysterious illness. Five weeks, he was forced to watch, mostly from a hospital bed, his car race without him.
Thankfully, the man recovered and has qualified for his second Daytona 500 race coming this Sunday.
High highs and low lows. They’re just part of life, whether you’re a race car driver, a parent, an accountant, or a writer.
The highs inspire us. Carry us. And the hope of them drive us forward in anticipation. It’s that hope that gives us our strongest motivation and propels us through most of our daily days. Reaching the highs is spectacular for a moment. Resting on it for too long can drag us down, but that element of reaching the high and the memory of it provide the fuel that creates our dreams in the first place.
If the highs inspire us, the lows direct us. As a teacher, misbehavior always resulted in redirecting. Not only did the word sound better than punishment, it was a more accurate description of what happened. I didn’t want to stifle the creativity or the spirit of my students. I just wanted to funnel it into an appropriate area.
Our failures treat us to the same instruction. Like a mouse in a maze reaching a dead end, we have to pick up and turn our enthusiasm to a different path. The lows threaten to rob us of hope and a positive attitude, but they don’t have to.
In fact, they really don’t have the power to do that. Dead ends only look like they stop us, but it depends on how we react to them. We can allow them to stop us, sit on our hineys and whine. Or we can pull a u-ee and try another possibility. (There are always other possibilities.)
Now this article isn’t an explanation of me making a drastic change. On the contrary, I’m riding on hope right now with my new story idea and am writing more than I have in months. But I have to be ready for set-backs: passes from agents, strong critiques, even poor reviews. I don’t expect them, but I have to be prepared for them so that when they come I can use them for growth instead of wrapping my emotions around them into a fetal position.
All of my goals, including reading, visiting other blogs, even my exercise, are on an upswing. It hasn’t been that way the whole time, but I’ve been able to find something to be pleased about with every update, even on weeks when I topple big.
Your Turn: Where are you this week? What’s spurring you on, or what’s holding you back?