Any man that has ever driven a stick shift knows how good it feels when the clutch comes off the floor as you continue to pick up speed. That forward momentum is damn near euphoric. It’s when the light ahead is turning red that the need for speed (yes, that is a Top Gun reference) dissipates and he needs to drop the clutch and coast to a temporary stop.
But what about when the traffic is building up and you only need to slow down? If you’re anything like me, you were never taught how to down-shift. You just simply pushed the clutch and coasted to a stop before taking off again wide ass open. Down-shifting was something that I taught myself over time and experience. Still to this day, I’m not a huge fan of it.
The way you feel when the gears strain against the kinetic energy forcing you to slow down. The staggering sensation as the car lurches forward on itself and the tugging of the seat belt against your chest sucks away the sense of freedom that you had felt only moments before.
Now that the entire world has gone into lock down, men are really feeling the strain on their minds and bodies as they have been forced to downshift their lives. Being purpose driven creatures we tend to rail against slowing down our steady march towards progress.
It is in these times that the temptation to be pulled along with the current can sometimes be over whelming. It’s all to easy to let our circumstances dictate our direction.
I’ll admit that I’m feeling this quite a bit more than I thought I would. As a husband and a father, I take my duties to provide for and protect my family very seriously. A large part of that has involved me going to work 60-70 hours a week. Now that none of that’s possible, I find myself redlining my own engine and just itching to drop the clutch.
Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to go wide ass open right now and it’s now time to control my speed.
It’s important for me to remember that my purpose and my mission is unchanged however. It is still my lot in life to care and provide for my family and to help inspire other men to be the best versions of themselves. I just need to learn to down-shift.
And so do you.
Mastering the Clutch
If you’re going to do this effectively, you still need to know a few things.
- You still need to know what direction you’re headed in. This may seem obvious but when we change our tempo, we can sometimes start to think that the mission has changed.
- You still need to know why you’re in the driver seat to begin with. You’re a man and your duties have not changed. You are still expected to be the one that everyone can turn to when SHTF. This means taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. You can’t help anyone if you’re burnt out.
- You need to know how to shift gears. The way you are with yourself cannot be the same way that you are with your wife and children. Remember, their lives have all been uprooted as well. It’s important that you be able to temper yourself to each of their individual needs.
- Finally, you need a nice grip on the wheel to understand that the situation is fluid. Things are changing every day. What works today may not work tomorrow. You need to be able to weave through the cones and be willing to accept that there are going to be some detours along the way. That’s ok. The goal is to get everyone there safely and in one piece and enjoy the view.
The point is that you’re all going to be in the car together for some time. Yeah, the kids are in the backseat screaming at each other and your wife is in the passenger seat pointing out everything that the other drivers are doing. It’s going to be distracting and you’ll be tempted to lose your temper.
Before you start threatening to turn the car around take a look at where you’re at. You’ve got your entire family together. You’ve got nothing but the road ahead and all you’ve got to do is make the most of it. So why not slow down a bit?
It’s a beautiful view.