Something I’m sure I’ve written about before is stuck in my head right now. Being humbled. The oddest place that this concept took light in my adult life was in truck driving school. I mean, I’ve been humbled many times in my life prior, but the meaning of it as it applies to our experiences didn’t hit me until then. For those who haven’t driven any sort of big vehicle, it’s truly a challenge at first. Shifting that is. Maneuvering a large vehicle in tight spaces isn’t really the issue. In a typical semi-truck that you’d see on the highway hauling a big trailer, there’s anywhere from ten to eighteen or more gears. In fact when you start off at an intersection, you may have shifted four or five times before even commencing a turn or making it halfway through.
You’ve driven a manual transmission car or truck right? So you’d think since these big trucks have clutch, brake and gas along with a shifter column you could mimic the motions right? Think again. If you miss a gear or shift out of sync you’ll completely lose gears. It’s an art to shift smoothly, let alone shift at all.
After the group of us came back from our first time out driving we were able to give feedback to the instructor as well as other students. Something stood out to me. Quite a few of these people in this class had the attitude of being bad-ass-mother-truckers… One of them mentioned that the first time out humbled him in a way he never thought possible. His cocky attitude and apparent confidence could not help him find a gear to save a life. He realized that as small as this feat was, in order to succeed at this endeavor he needs to check his ego at the door. Though its just trucks, people that have been doing it for damn near their whole life probably actually do know what their talking about…
If you made it through that mess of writing meant to lead into my thoughts I applaud you.
My recent experience with humbling experiences is flight school. There are some cocky-ass mofos up in this place! Some need to be humbled big time! For some it won’t come for many years, if at all. New truckers get humbled by the gear box… New pilots are going to get humbled by the actual lack of knowledge and the ‘love of flying’ wont be the keystone of getting employed or even staying alive in any given situation.
I’m not writing this with the underlying assumption that I think I know everything. I know very little. What I am eluding to, is that our teachers, our elders, might actually know what the hell they’re talking about. Until you’ve done something to command respect and attention from others, you should really think about shutting your mouth and truly start listening to what you’re being told. Our life is a learning and growing experience. If you take heed to the advice and warnings of those who have more experience than you, it may make your life a bit more bearable. If you choose to let your life be run by your ego and false confidence, be prepared to learn the hard way. And don’t be surprised when someone like me drops an unedited variation of ‘told you so’ on your plate.
These two examples are from my life. The concept of being humbled could easily be applied in so many areas of our lives. Simply put, have you ever said to yourself ‘they’ll learn’ but you don’t want to say too much because you think it would serve them better to fall on their ass first before learning the lesson? Have you realized that at some point you’ve probably been the person that someone else is saying that exact same thing about?
If you think my experiences in life have any depth of credibility I suggest you find a way to humble yourself every now and then. Realize that as much as those life motivational coaches would hate to hear it, you aren’t always as good as you lead yourself to believe you are. When you can accept a candid evaluation of what you are truly made of, then you can become a better person than you’ve ever been before. Cocky attitudes, over inflated egos and pompous behavior does nothing for you or anyone else.
Walk softly and carry a big stick?