Who’s in the driving seat?

8th September 2015 | Tim Benton | Motivation

I used to have a SAT NAV.  When it worked, it was great and I became very reliant on it getting me where I needed to go.  Maybe a little too over-reliant…

A few years back, I had to speak at a school in Bedfordshire.  I fell out of the hotel, first thing in the morning, and got into the car.  Fixing the SAT NAV to the dashboard, I typed in the school’s postcode.  The SAT NAV led the way:

“Turn left at the end of the road…. “

“At the mini round-about, take the second exit… “

“Continue for one mile…”

We kept going.

“Turn right…”

Further instructions were followed and it eventually informed me:

“You have reached your destination.”

I looked out the window.  Was this right?

I was around the back of Bedford rail station.  There was a burnt out car, a supermarket trolley, a skip with a mattress in it, and some homeless guy talking to his own shoes! This did not look like a school!

It wasn’t a school.  Flippin’ SAT NAV got it wrong!!!

A few minutes later, and after some hasty map reading, the SAT NAV was back in the glove box and I was speeding my way to the school.  The SAT NAV had taken me 2 miles in the wrong direction and I was nowhere near where I needed to be!  Fortunately I arrived, just in the nick of time…

I learned a valuable lesson that day.  I had been so used to my SAT NAV telling me where to go, I’d stopped thinking for myself.

Some of you may be like that; your teachers or friends are doing your thinking for you and you are getting to a point where you can’t think for yourself.  It’s what psychologists call ‘learned helplessness’: if someone does something for you too much, you will struggle to do it yourself!

Remember: All answers are good, not necessarily correct.  A wrong answer is always better than ‘I don’t know’.  A good guess on an exam paper is better than writing nothing (and you may still get marks for what you put).

Google maps on my iphone is brilliant (much better than my old SAT NAV) and it helps it me no end.  But I don’t follow it blindly anymore – I always check it’s taking me to the right place (eg St Ives in Cornwall not St Ives in Cambridgeshire!).

Sometimes, Google is wrong.

If you don’t end up where you wanted to be – don’t blame someone else, find your own path.

Make your own map!