by David DeFord
On a recent drive home from Colorado, freezing rain mixed with snow began to fall heavily. The Weather Channel had cruelly betrayed us. For hours we crept at 40mph down the slippery I-70.
We passed dozens of abandoned cars lying in ditches and down embankments. A few rested on the center shoulder facing the oncoming traffic. Ambulances passed, state troopers assisted the stranded. We stopped to help one unassisted family.
After a gas stop, the snow, sleet and wind worsened. As we re-entered the freeway, our CD player featured Ricky Skaggs singing, “Are you afraid to die?”
Surprisingly, a high percentage of the stranded vehicles consisted of four-wheel-drive cars and trucks. These drivers apparently felt secure driving at higher speeds. After all, the SUVs had been designed to thrive in such conditions.
What can we do to control our journey in such conditions? How can we pass through the snow and ice to safely reach our destinations?
Good tires help. So do slow, cautious driving—coasting across the overpasses, keeping a safe distance from the car in front of us and focusing rapt attention on our own vehicles and the movements of those around us. Patience, patience, patience.
We can’t control the weather. Nor can we control other conditions around us as we travel life’s journey. But we can work to ensure our best advantage under difficult times.
In our cars we can experience blown tires and fight to keep the car from veering out of control. We may have to fight to stay on the road when we swerve quickly to miss a deer, or a rabbit, or an armadillo. Cars ahead of us may abruptly stop without warning.
To remain safe in the face of such driving challenges we can check our tires regularly, drive at a safe speed, leave enough space between the car ahead and our own. We can watch the road for animals or obstacles far ahead of us.
We will face hazardous living conditions also.
In our careers we may lose our jobs in reorganizations or mistakes. We may be downsized or simply eliminated. We may experience industry downturns, slumps, or unfair employers.
We may face difficult challenges in our families: physical, emotional, or mental illness; death; wayward children; wandering spouses; money troubles; strife; religious differences; even abuse.
Our spiritual lives can also bring difficulties such as doubt, loneliness, serious mistakes, or controversy.
Just as we can take active steps to overcome dangerous driving conditions and unforeseen mishaps so we can take responsibility for ourselves in preparing for the dangers of life.
Here are some steps we can take to prepare for any conditions that we may encounter down the road.
1. Diversify our income and our investments
2. Live within our means
3. Stay out of debt or keep it to a minimum
4. Give honest effort to our employers
5. Give more value to our employers than we receive in salary
6. Learn new skills
7. Keep our egos in check
8. Find your passion but keep your balance
9. Find ways to express our love with and without words
10. Give more to our family members than we expect in return
11. Hold meaningful family activities regularly
12. Communicate, communicate, communicate
13. Seek help where needed before all is lost
14. Stay completely away from addictive substances
15. Study uplifting materials daily
16. Keep journals and write about our feelings as well as our activities
17. Live the tenets of our faiths
18. Find a meaningful way to serve in our communities
19. Take active steps to achieve our dreams
None of us can control every event around us, but we can prepare ourselves to benefit from those events.
Take responsibility for your life and you will greatly improve it.
Now, will you accept a homework assignment? After rereading my 19 tips for a better life, send me your tips. Let’s combine yours with mine and we’ll develop a meaningful list of steps we can all take to improve our lives and to prepare for any hazards on the road ahead.
Send me your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Without preservation and cultivation of the spiritual, your material success will be as ashes in your mouths. Gordon B. Hinckley
Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. Lou Holtz
Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory. Mahatma Gandhi
Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. Michael Jordan
In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. Harry S. Truman
What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination. Zig Ziglar
Before success comes in any man's life he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failures. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. Napoleon Hill
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