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Go for a Drive
by Kevin Eikenberry
I love to drive. I think I got it from my Dad and all of the car trips we took when I was a kid. From an early age I spent my time looking out the window and reading the map. It always felt good when I could answer the location questions for my Dad. Even though now I know that he was asking mostly to help me hone my map reading skills, then it always made me feel important. Perhaps this love of driving is partially responsible for me taking two recent business trips by car. Since these trips were for business, I found myself driving alone. When I find myself alone, I often reflect, which sometimes leads to the words you read . . .

Driving Options

When you are driving alone for several hours at a stretch, you need to find something to "do." I found that there are several things I do including: listening to talk radio, listening to music, listening to educational and/or motivational programming, listening to myself eat (!), listening to myself talk on the phone, or just listening to myself. (That is a lot of listening considering that I'm alone!)

Radio Days

I barely remember when a radio was truly a car option. I mean, I have seen cars without radios, but it isn't often. Cars have radios. Radio listenership is highest during times of lots of driving, which is why morning and late afternoon radio time slots are called "drive time." Lots of people listen to the radio in the car. It might be music, or news or sports (the latter is typically an option for me only when I am driving alone or I turn all of the sound to the front drivers-side speaker!)

Radio can provide you with passive entertainment, or can engage you in a controversy, through getting you to think about an issue or situation. Typically, however, radio is mind candy. It sits in the background providing us with a diversion for our mind.

Music to Drive to

I've always loved music, and the car is a great place to listen to tunes! Since I also like to sing, it is better for me to crank tunes by myself. This way I can turn it up, and sing along, without hurting anyone's eardrums. Of course this can be radio music, but with your tape player or CD you can select the songs - and if you want to sing, what could be better than picking what you want to sing? (and even singing it again and again if you want.)

As you drive you just know there are lots of people listening to music. Ever stopped at an intersection and seen someone singing in the next lane? William James said "we don't sing because we are happy, we are happy because we sing." I believe it! When I am driving, listening and singing, I am often in a blissful state.

Eating the Miles Away

This is one of my favorite driving pastimes, and it isn't necessarily a healthy one! A cousin who was perpetually thin, started driving a truck for a living and he related to me that he had gained 25 pounds over the first few months. When I consider that, as well as the types of food available in most gas stations, I realize I'm not alone in my eating-while-driving habit. This might not be a problem if I chose raisins, or carrots or an apple, but all too often I buy candy and chips. (I do often wash it down with water rather than a soda and that always makes me feel better!) Fast food chains picked up on our penchant for driving and eating with the drive through window. It appears eating and driving is a part of our culture and consciousness. This is not necessarily bad, unless you find yourself habitually emerging from your car with a stomach ache. If that is the case, it might be time to reassess your habit in this area.

On Call

I also found myself using my cell phone while driving (don't worry, I was hands-free!). This is a controversial topic, and I understand the risks associated with distracted driving. I think I managed those distractions well - only making calls when on a freeway, when I knew where I was, when traffic wasn't too tight. And again, hands-free! So while some people may find this to be a problem, I found it to be a great time saver! When driving during business hours (and when I had a good cell signal, I was able to complete some real work.

The Rolling University

You've probably heard speakers and authors talk about the value of using drive time as learning time. I agree. I like to use my car's tape and CD players as a source of learning and inspiration, through the use of programs from smart people. Using otherwise free time to fill your head with positive and insightful ideas has been something I have long practiced, and I love to do it, although I seldom do it for 3-4 hours straight.

Taking Time for You

We live in an increasingly busy world. This is of course no great revelation. In this busy world, we are increasingly people looking for refuge, for time and space to be alone with our thoughts. It is a challenge I share with many of you.

What I re-learned in my recent travels, is that my car can be that refuge. I know, I can't meditate or pray (I do still have to watch the road!). But as an adult and experienced driver, much of the task of driving is in our subconscious, leaving us "brain space" to think, create, problem solve and prioritize.

The only one of the other tasks I've described that you might be able to combine with this is the eating. The rest, put some sort of noise in our environment. Your car can be a relatively quiet place, for you to think, but only if you turn the other "stuff" off.

I am nourished by and value all of the other activities I have described. But the one that I have determined to be the best use of my time is to turn everything off, except my brain. I have determined that going for a drive can be relaxing and rejuvenating if I think about how I will spend the time behind the wheel. I encourage you to examine how you spend your drive time, because I believe you can use it to help you create the life you intend, and were made to create.

That's a pretty nice by-product of the time spent getting from here to there.

Yours in Learning,

Kevin :)

Kevin Eikenberry
The Discian Group

Kevin Eikenberry is a speaker, trainer, author, and President of the Discian Group - a learning consulting company committed to helping Organizations, Teams, and Individuals reach their performance goals through learning. For information about the Discian Group or its products and services, visit our website at Discian.com

� Copyright 2002, Discian.com. All rights reserved.


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