Thursday, July 31, 2008

Defective steering wheel metaphor

We all have the capacity to "steer" our lives.

Yet the "steering wheel" never works perfectly. It may steer better at certain moments, but later on may seem to barely work at all.

Imagine driving a car like this. It could lead to moments of calm, confident driving, but then when the steering is failing, it would lead to frantic efforts to steer harder. You would see that your efforts produced some result (since the steering wheel still works a bit), so you would step up the frantic efforts. Yet the car might continue to lose directional control.

To manage this situation, you must be prepared to steer well when you can. When the steering wheel is not working so well, resist the vicious cycle of frantically attempting to regain control. You may need to slow the car down enough so that you can keep it on track even with limited steering capacity.

People panic when they can't control their lives. Often the panic is worse when they see that they are not TOTALLY out of control, but only partially. The panicked person observes that they have PARTIAL control, so they frantically try to exert this partial control on their lives. The frantic quality of this action increases the panic and exhaustion. It may cause the person to forget to slow the car down, and that's when major accidents can happen.

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