For a couple of years now, I have been increasingly fearful of driving my car in what I tend to refer to as “weather.” Meaning, of course, rain or snow of any sort of noticeable intensity.
So much so, in fact, that a few months back I missed a chance to have lunch with a friend in Boston — really just because the forecast was for rain. Heavy, torrential rain.
So I called and canceled, even though I had been looking forward to it for weeks.
Then a few days ago, I replaced the windshield wipers on my car. And today, I drove to Boston in a heavy, torrential downpour. No sweat.
Why? Apparently, the only reason I hated driving in the rain was because of the diminished visibility. I thought that the lousy vision I had through my windshield was what everybody was burdened with — and I couldn’t understand why everybody wasn’t as freaked out as I was in nasty weather.
As I made my way home through the heavy rain, hands pleasantly unclenched, heart beating at a normal rate, I though about how such a simple piece of technology — inexpensive, and something I was able to install myself — made such an enormous difference in my perception and my experience.
Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that I should have figured out sooner that it was my wiper blades, not my bravery, that was the real issue here.
To me, it’s a reminder that simple, everyday technologies can have a significant impact on our lives for the better. The addition of one simple thing can lead to a disproportionate increase in things that are not so simple, like freedom, confidence, independence.
It’s also reminding me how one minor success can lead to a disproportionate willingness to risk more, and to gain more.
Like, when I first learned how to change a tire, it suddenly made me feel like Hey, I know a thing or two about cars! Even if that wasn’t technically true, it was my attitude that allowed me to feel confidence when dealing with the automotive shop guys, the people I eventually sold my car to, and the people I bought successive cars from.
Because I took that small step years ago to learn one basic thing about my car — how to change my own tire — I benefitted from a serious ripple effect for years after.
I see the same thing with the adoption of online skills, especially in my work with relative novices, mostly artists, teaching them about the online tools that might help them be more successful.
While there might be resistance at first — and in some it is, in fact, never overcome — in some, all it takes is one small success, one tiny experience of well, I can do THAT to open up a world of possibilities, to plant the idea in someone’s head, sure, I know a thing or two about computers/blogging/podcasting/whatever
Rachel Happe was talking about the importance of getting to the AHA Moment not long ago, and I think this might be a variation on that theme.
And, since she was the friend I stood up a few months ago, before I knew a thing or two about wiper blades, I hope I can celebrate this AHA moment with her, by rescheduling our postponed lunch from a few months back.
Have you had an AHA moment — in any area of life? How did it change things for you?