Life Lessons: The Up Side of Down Force
Life lessons come from places we least expect. For instance, “the road” has provided many life lessons for artists, wanderers, and writers attracted to its romance — the travel, freedom, personal journeys. To be sure, that is one part it, yet there are lessons to be found in the road itself. That hard blacktop surface is the canvas for the art of driving and the excitement of speed. Race car drivers know that calculated speed is an art form. And, like any art, it has its finer points.
At first those points go against our intuition — brake before the curves not in them, apply gas through them. But, in simplest terms, when we brake on a curve, the car rises, making the suspension unstable. When we go faster through them, we activate down force, an aerodynamic principle that all car designers know and use. It makes the tires grip the surface tighter, hence the phrase — hugging the road.
We have all heard the metaphor that life as like a road, but what if we tweaked it a bit to consider living life as if we were the car on that road? Do we also become unstable when we apply brakes at a time we should be hunkering down and going with the flow? What would happen if we went faster, or at least kept our speed up, through adversity rather than stopping?
Trust in the science that going forward, at any speed, is far better than stalling or stopping; to keep moving with hope is better than being buried by doubt and recriminations. The biggest up side to down force is how good it feels to push ourselves past our comfort zones and roll quickly, smoothly and expertly through those curves life inevitably brings.
Then just maybe we will bypass those straight roads in favor of curvy mountain roads, knowing the excitement and challenge they bring and trusting that we can not only handle it, but love the ride.