I recently watched a movie called The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s about a man who is a race car driver and his faithful dog. If you are a dog lover or car lover, you will enjoy the movie.
This story has two great life lessons for us.
Denny, the main character in the movie, has a special talent for being able to drive in the rain. Any race car driver will tell you that driving in the rain can be dangerous. However, Denny is not afraid of the rain. Instead, he creates his own driving conditions with his car and driving style, so that the rain is just rain.
Here’s the first lesson: Accept what is and work with it.
So how do we apply this to midlife? There are parts of our environment that we can control and parts that we can’t control.
The race driver can control his car and his driving style, but he can’t control the track conditions or other drivers. In life, we can control what we think, what we do, and our immediate environment. Everything else is out of our control. So, just accept what is and work with it.
- If your job is stressful, you can make your immediate work environment as stress relieving as possible and let everyone else be stressed while you calmly do what needs to be done. Accept what is and work with it.
- If your commute to work is stressful, accept the traffic for what it is and work with it. Use Waze or Google Maps to find your best route and then put on a podcast. Use the time to learn something or become a better person. You will get there when you get there.
- If you are stressed about a recent medical diagnosis, then accept what is and work with it. Fear, worry, and depression won’t make you healthy. Learn all that you can about your disease and start making better lifestyle choices.
- If you are experiencing a stressful relationship, accept what is and work with it. You can’t change the other person, you can only change your thoughts and actions. You can focus on their positive attributes, give positive responses, or you can choose to set boundaries with the relationship. Don’t expect the other person to be someone they are not. Just accept them the way they are and choose your responses and the type of relationship you want.
There’s a scene in the movie where Denny talks to his coach about losing a race. His coach wisely says, “There’s no dishonor in losing the race, there’s only dishonor in not racing because you’re afraid to lose.”
Here’s the second life lesson: You were born to live, love, and learn, and you can’t do any of the three if you’re not willing to risk failure.
The great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar used to say,
“Failure is an event. It is not a person.”
Everyone who tries fails. Anyone who keeps trying is not a failure.
This doesn’t mean that you need to bungee jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas or climb Kilimanjaro in Africa. If you’re risk averse, don’t avoid taking risks. Instead, mitigate risks by taking precautions and reducing the severity of consequences.
Let’s say you want to go rock climbing which can be dangerous. How do you make it less risky?
- Watch rock climbing videos
- Take a rock climbing class
- Purchase the right rock climbing gear
- Practice indoor rock climbing with safety ropes
- Go rock climbing with an instructor or guide
- Start with easy climbs before tackling bigger climbs
Living is a risk. Loving is a risk. Nothing in life is risk free. Often, we learn the most from our failures.
You can make mistakes and you can even experience temporary failure. However, the only real failure in life is not engaging, not living, and not experiencing life.
Here’s the Midlife Message:
Accept what is and work with it. Failing isn’t losing. Losing is being too afraid to live fully, love completely, and learn from your failures.
Here’s your Mighty Challenge of the Day:
What situation in your life do you just need to accept what is and work with it?
What area of your life are you playing it too safe where you could live more, love more, and learn more?