By Mark E. Smith
Among my routine rituals is running my power wheelchair through my company’s test lab “speed trap.” I’ve perfected aspects like tire air pressure, straight-line tracking, and battery type to get my production chair just a scant faster than it’s built to run. In this process over the years, I’ve learned a bit about life, too.
The mathematical equation for speed is [Speed = Distance / Time]. Put simply, how long it takes you to cover an amount of distance is how fast you’re going. As I’ve run my straight-line speed trap hundreds of times – a computer system measuring my distance over time to calculate my speed – I’ve realized it’s a metaphor for life. Our successes and failures are dictated by the same equation, how much or little progress we make over an amount of time impacts our lives.
See, if in our lives, we cover little distance over time, we’re not progressing. Think about our relationships, careers, finances, you name it – if it’s all where it was five years ago, with no progress, our distance over time is dismal. Our lives are stalled or even destructing.
To the contrary, when we make quick, rash, hasty decisions, jumping from one life path to the next, we’re moving so fast that we’re bound to make mistakes. Racing through life impulsively, without considering consequences always results in disasters.
The key, then, is to look at our lives as [Speed = Distance / Time] and find that optimal balance, where we’re making great progress, without making poor decisions or mistakes.
What I’ve learned in the speed trap – and life – is that the right speed is prudent in practice, but still a little faster than average.