I've been learning to drive J's manual car now that we have only one. I was taught in an automatic. In fact J's car is the only manual I've ever driven.
He first started teaching me while we were dating. I wanted to learn so that if I ever had to drive a manual in an emergency I wouldn't freak out and start crying because I couldn't get the car moving. I got to a competent level so that I could drive the car from his house to the friend's house we had Bible study at and back again. But then we stopped and I didn't start learning again until the end of last year when we were planning to sell one car (my automatic) in preparation for moving interstate.
It was almost speed learning then. I had to learn so that I could share the driving on the way across the country. Since we've been here I've hardly driven. This city is full of hills and I hadn't learnt to do a hill start in a manual so I wasn't very keen to do any driving. We decided that Sunday mornings would probably be pretty safe so I've been driving to or from church.
But while we were back in our home city during our mid-year holidays I wanted to do a lot more driving to get my confidence and skills up. This suggestion found me attempting a hill start on the steep slope of the cul-de-sac where my parents live.
"Okay, hand brake on. Now find the friction point... good. Accelerate a little... now bring the clutch out a little more and accelerate a little again. (You'll probably have to do this two or three times). Good! Now take the hand brake off and accelerate."
"It's okay, try again."
Hand brake, clutch, accelerate... clutch, accelerate... hand brake...
When I fail I just want to give up. I didn't want to keep trying, I just wanted to give up and get J to drive. It made me wonder if this is how I always react to failure. Actually I think this is how many of us react to failure. We don't want to put ourselves through continual negative feedback. Failure is a blow to our confidence and sometimes also our self-esteem.
Often we're told to keep trying, to not give up, to not let failure beat us. But I'm not saying that. I realised from this experience that I need to be realistic about what I can and can't achieve; when to give up on something that I can't do and when to keep trying.
I knew which category driving fit into. I had only failed at the hill start a few times. It certainly wasn't something that was impossible for me to do. So I tried again, and off we went.
This got me thinking. Where else does this tendency appear in my life? Should I have more confidence in my abilities? How should I react when I fail? These are some questions I'll be asking myself.
How do you react when you fail?