In the end, it always comes down to this – who is driving your bus? I met a researcher the other day who told me that the most common characteristic of successful people is that they are ‘goal-directed’, in other words in any given situation they will look for what to do next and do it. You can only do this if at least some part of you believes that you can influence your own situation or, in my language, if you are a Driver.
People who think like a Driver find it much easier to get to know what they want and they also find it easier to discover the motivation to go and get it, once they have figured it out. Passengers, on the whole, don’t.
- take little responsibility for results.
- act as if they’re a victim of circumstance.
- believe they have no choice over the behaviour they are exhibiting right now.
- may blame their history.
- may blame others, they say things like, They made me.
- may blame their ancestors – It’s bad karma.
- may use a scientific excuse – I have a gene that makes me rude.
- view life as fixed and their results as inevitable.
- take comfort from knowing that since they have so little influence they cannot be blamed for their results.
- coming to a training event or business meeting will blame the room, the trainer or the other people or even fate/karma for their experience.
- can often be found asking themselves, Why is this happening?
- will rehearse reasons (excuses) why things did not happen. Reasons will dominate their conversation.
You see the passenger mentality in a man or woman who takes the role of victim in their life. The core belief is that they have no choice. To be a good passenger you must constantly deny two things:
- your own role in creating your circumstances.
- your own power to change your circumstances.
- take full responsibility for the results they see in their lives.
- are able to choose their emotional reaction to events and circumstances.
- believe they always have a choice so they are able to generate lots of new options for themselves.
- are willing to face the discomfort of owning up to their own role in creating situations.
- understand that any outside force in their lives is only influential insofar as they let it influence their next choice.
- understand that another person (boss, etc.) is only an influence in their life insofar as they let them.
- coming to a training event or business meeting know that no matter how bad or how good things get, they can always get the result they want. Why? Because they are responsible for getting it and they know that with enough flexibility they can get anything.
- will frequently ask themselves, How can I make a change to change this situation?
- will use tend to use results based language. You won’t hear excuses from them. Drivers will talk about where they are going and what they are doing – the results they want.
To be an effective driver you must:
- act as if your choices create your circumstances – whatever they are.
- act as if you have the power to change your situa- tion by making different choices.
On the whole it’s easier to know what you want if you operate as a Driver rather than a Passenger.
A World Full Of Passengers
Many of us are quite happy to sit back in the passenger seat while someone else drives the bus – parents, partners, colleagues, our boss, the government. Every so often we may look out of the window and wistfully imagine going somewhere else, but we pretty much act as passengers in our own life.
The exercises in Part Four will help you to begin to figure it out and, just as important, are a set of tools you can use to help others figure it out too.
And if you want to make this work for you then start by making a commitment to yourself that you will hop into the driver’s seat of your bus and take responsibility for where it goes.
Of course, it’s easy for me to write this. How do you actually start driving your bus – especially if you’ve been a passenger for a while?
The Easy Way To Become A Driver
Take a good look at your life – weight, finances, relation- ships, job, business , etc., and ask yourself, What is my role in creating this?
Because, after all, if you are going to drive your bus then you need to act as if you created it all.
For all the stuff you like and want more of, ask yourself, How can I create more of this?
For all the stuff you don’t like and want less of, ask your- self, How can I create something different?
What Is Your Role In Creating This?
Now act. Do more of the things that will create what you want. Stop or do less of the things that create the results you don’t like. The moment you feel yourself going passive, ceding control of your results to parents, partners, colleagues, bosses or even political institutions, then go right back to the beginning: What is my role in creating this?
I don’t know whether we do create all the results in our lives but I do know that by acting as if we do, we greatly increase our ability to change all our results. Perhaps the best guidance of all comes from St Augustine: Pray as if it all depended on God and work as if it all depended on you.
Do your bit with everything you’ve got, let the rest go, and it becomes much easier to know where you want to go. Just as if you were driving your own bus.