Just do it
Control Anxiety Metaphor
Cruise
  Control
Cruise
  Control

Accepting life's limits

<< Metaphor Therapy

Focus on what really counts

This metaphor can be told to clients who are over anxious or feel 'driven' all the time. It is about knowing what your goals are and how to to get to them. It points out the lesson that we all tend to rush at things that we shouldn't and waste time worrying when we should be powering ahead.

 

Controlling Anxiety Metaphor

 

I used to have to drive to another city at the other end of the country several times a month. The journey took about eight hours. I could have gone by plane or train but I had a lot of gear to take with me. Also I enjoy driving. It's good to get out on the road from time to time. I tried various routes but it always took about the same time. I used to go as fast as I could, but got frustrated by slower vehicles and bends in the road. I always arrived tired and grumpy.

Then I bought another car. This one had cruise control. With cruise control you just set the speed and the car takes over. It maintains that speed for you and all you have to do is point the car in the right direction. I loved it. It turned driving into steering. I would set the cruise control to just under the speed limit and take my feet off the pedals and just enjoy the scenery going by.

Before I had cruise control my method of dealing with bends in the road was to brake going into the bend and then accelerate out of it, but overall going as fast as I could. Some bends have signs showing recommended speeds. I ignored them: it was only a recommendation after all, and I was driving a good car, still well under the speed limit.

But what you can do is not necessarily what you should do.

Because I discovered one important thing. You actually don't have to slow down at bends. On my long journey I would set the cruise control and just let the car run on by itself. At first it was terrifying, letting the car hurtle round bends at maximum speed. I used to sit there, with my foot poised above the brake pedal, ready to stamp on it if things got out of control, but time after time the car took me around the curves smoothly and safely. I came to realise that road engineers do a wonderful job. In this country, every bend is so designed that on a dry day you can go into every bend safely at maximum speed, unless it specifically has a sign telling you to use a lower speed. And I also learned to respect that recommended speed, no matter how low. By going into the bend at the recommended speed the car went round as if it was on rails. No stress, no panic. Just gliding through smoothly and safely, and then again setting the cruise control to maximum.

I found that not only was I getting to my destination quicker than before, I was arriving fresh and relaxed. By trusting that the car I was driving was built to handle the bends, I was using the roads the way they were designed to be used.

So what I discovered is that it is not about driving as fast as you can. Driving fast is actually about not slowing down. When things look difficult, remember that the road has been designed for you to go to the limit, and that the rules are there to protect you. By accepting that invisible partnership, you can go further and faster than you ever thought possible.