By Heather Wagenhals
How a Renaissance Man does anything is how a Renaissance Man does everything.
This includes how one parks his car. For a Renaissance Man, even this seemingly mundane task reflects his approach to life.
A Renaissance Man considers every action, especially those repetitive actions that become habits and eventual behaviors and decides for himself if they add or subtract value. I have observed through my own behavior that how one parks their vehicle tends to reflect how they manage their lives. Let me explain.
For some, parking styles evoke strong feelings. Family friend, racing legend and arguably the greatest NASCAR engine builder of all-time, the late Robert Yates, had very strong opinions on how one parks.
Robert viewed any employee of his who parked backward as someone, “too itching to get out of work.” So, any employee he observed parking backward at his shop he would summarily fire and help them out the door.
A Renaissance Man’s view is different. He parks “tail-in,” and for specific reasons.
First, backing in to a parking space is safer, and the chief reason why is because when you leave that space you’re already entering the flow of traffic going forward. If you consider this approach as a wider metaphor for life, that means you’re always “going forward”—and that is a key principle in cultivating a successful life.
Let’s explore the opposite view here to illustrate the importance of forward motion to one’s approach to life. If you are going into the flow of traffic backward, you will necessarily creep into it, and usually with some heightened level of trepidation. And when you back up out of a parking space and into traffic, you also have less time available to execute any maneuvers before that traffic arrives. Invariably, you have blind spots. You will constantly be looking from side to side, relying on secondhand information from mirrors or passengers telling you what they see and what obstacles are in your path.
This is the approach I consider “backing into your life.” And, with this approach, your chances of being blindsided are far greater than if you were looking forward. Moreover, your judgment is necessarily impaired by limited information.
In contrast, when entering the flow of traffic moving forward, a Renaissance Man has the full view of his surroundings right in front of him. And though the terrain further down the road may still be unknown, going forward allows you to clearly watch the territory unfold as you proceed down your chosen path.
What's behind you doesn't matter and almost becomes irrelevant, because you've already dealt with it when you originally backed into your parking spot.
In life, this approach means you’re tackling your “issues,” i.e. your past, and you’ve proactively chosen to make it a known quantity. And, even if dealing with this past is really hard, your decision to confront life’s dragons on your terms gives you the upper hand.
By choosing to embrace the initial awkward or uncomfortable tasks in order to get a better view of the future, a Renaissance Man increases his ability to observe reality and to cleanly apply his full powers of critical thinking and reasoning to determine the best course of action.
Finally, by choosing the opposite and parking head-in, which also forces you to back into the flow of traffic, you put yourself at a disadvantage physiologically. Your primitive brain is going to feel vulnerable with your back exposed while entering into “danger.” Yet when you enter into danger from a tail-in position, you know that you’ve already “covered your back,” and that you are in a much better position to confront reality with eyes forward and with a greater degree of confidence—regardless of how scary the unknown may be.
When you park like a Renaissance Man, you are prepared to handle anything because you’re able to see reality with eyes wide open. And let’s face it, your decisions are only as good as the quality of information you have to make those decisions.
So, the next time you pull into a parking lot, remember that seemingly little decisions in life—i.e. how you park your car—really do have a wider context. Because how a Renaissance Man does anything is how a Renaissance Man does everything.
Heather Wagenhals is a best-selling author, FOX News Contributor, Founder and Host of the Web TV Series, “Unlock Your Wealth Today” and has been featured in numerous publications, radio and television. Heather notes with pride for the last 30 years, she has parked “tail-in.”
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