Driving abroad in a country where they drive on the left.
Bit weird the first time you do it eh? Especially in a manual car.
The first time I did it every time I went to change gear I’d end up winding the window down.
But it’s one of those things. You quickly get used to it and bar going the wrong way round a few roundabouts, I’m normally pretty good.
Well, that was until Sicily 2017. Let me tell you about it.
See there I was with my at the time girlfriend, about to get a bit historical and spend the day looking at Roman ruins and all that. Who doesn’t love a bit or Spartan history?
“Right, need to park somewhere….
…..that’ll do it, over there on the other side of the road, perfect…..
…I’ll just do a quick U-turn……”
Now at this point and I have no idea why, I seemed to have forgotten that I was on the outside of the road. That meant cars were coming up on my INSIDE.
Yeah….I’d forgotten about that.
I was now covered in glass, our car at right angles to the road, and the door literally squeezing against my side.
I’ve crashed a car one other time in my life (17…..and hit a parked car at 10mph whilst changing cassettes, moron) and the noise of “car on car” really makes your heart sink.
To be honest? We were both MASSIVELY lucky. A few seconds earlier, or if that tank was going a bit faster……well it’s not worth thinking about.
Not only was I not dead, but my Italian speaking Mrs managed to diffuse what could have been TOTAL NIGHTMARE for me with the old carabinieri.
Especially when the insurance document in our rental car had the wrong registration plate on it!!!!!!
As luck would have it the chick who hit me had a husband who worked in insurance and was able to prove the motor was insured. Phew.
Now I want you to imagine you were in my situation.
You’ve got a good day planned in the sun, still 4 days of holiday left, and you just written off the hire car.
How would you feel?
How would you react?
Angry? Pissed off? Embarrassed? Beating yourself up?
I was and to be honest, I think most men would be the same.
But if that was a younger me stood there in the Sicilian sunshine like a lemon as my girlfriend had to do all the talking, it would have been a different story.
Back in the day I would have freaked the hell out.
I would have said sorry a MILLION times.
I would have got caught up in emotion.
I would have told myself story after story about how I’d ruined the day…..in fact ruined the whole holiday….how I must be a shit driver…..how I’ll tell everyone and they’ll all judge me…..
Stories that I would have continued to dwell on and tell myself over and over again. I dunno about you dude but that would have RUINED the holiday I had left.
But that never happened.
I was annoyed. I was a bit shaken up, but, and this is the complete truth, I managed to stay relatively calm and composed.
Ok it helped that a few hours later once the new car had been sorted, we were on a beach in the sun topping up my delicious tan, but look I wasn’t lying there stressing about it like I would have done back in the day.
Funny thing is this, the more I think about it, I’m actually a very different person now and since then I’ve coped with other stressful situations a lot better.
And I know why.
Now hold your horses my friend, don’t run away.
We’re not about to start talking unicorns and put our hessian pants on. In fact rather than use the word meditation, let’s use a term I use on my programme – “Mind Prep”.
I used to turn my nose up this hippy stuff. I used to bad mouth it and tell people it was a waste of time but I started to read a bit more and learnt the importance of “brain training”.
I fact, my friend, I’m gonna come back to this later because at this point I want to divert slightly.
OVERWHELM AND ENERGY
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like everything’s getting on top?
Where it feels like you got some dirty great big cloud over your face, suffocating you?
You can’t concentrate on anything because all you can focus on is this one horrible problem or situation?
And what’s worse, is that cloud is IRRATIONALLY turning every other small issue you’ve got going on, into mega monstrosities of world ending problems.
You break something, stub your toe, run out of bog roll and it annoys you way more than usual.
When it feels like even Chicken Licken had an easy ride. Not a nice position to be in
That feeling of being overwhelmed, like you’re sinking in quicksand and your IPhones died so you can’t even record an Instagram story about it, is horrible.
Not only that but overwhelm eats up your energy faster than Gemma Collins could eat a KFC family bucket.
And when your energy levels run low?.....Well, you’re just waiting for something to pull off the death move on you.
Now we can’t stop these tough situations from happening (well, we can not pull illegal u turns in a hire car)
We can’t eliminate stress from our lives - that’s just plain bad advice that gets dished out everywhere.
In fact, unless it’s health related, if you’re faced with regular stress it can be a good thing. It means you’re pushing yourself.
But what’s not good is if we can’t MANAGE it, and ALLOW it to take charge.
Crumbling under stress gets you somewhere between nowhere and nowhere and this is where we head back to that thing I mentioned earlier – MIND PREP.
Let’s put this into context. It might be easy for you to get over a car crash, break up, dropping that spag bol covered in melted cheese that you can’t wait to eat, all over the floor.
But what about the stuff that doesn’t easily go away and TRIGGERS you on a daily basis?
That bald patch you’ve got that is just getting worse?
Those man boobs that appear every time you look in the mirror and make you hate yourself?
The fact you’re still single and haven’t had a Tinder match since 2015?
Finances? Beer gut? Work problems?
These things don’t just go away but what you can do is take appropriate action to work on them. You know, you can train, change your diet and all that stuff.
However……how the hell are you gonna take action if you’ve got the energy levels of a slug because you’re engulfed in that cloud of overwhelm?
You can’t. So here’s what you have to do:
CREATE SPACE BETWEEN YOU AND THE PROBLEM
Space that will give you clarity and room to breathe. Where you can make quality, informed decisions rather than crumbling into a depressed heap on the bathroom floor amongst the pubes and ear buds.
Space that will allow you to recoup some energy and think rationally.
(I know I know, this may sound a bit “out there” to you. It did to me too, but bear with me and if you need to, read this all again and let it sink in)
So how do we create that space?
Simple…..we TRAIN OUR BRAIN.
Coach it to get better at stepping out of the room for a minute so to speak.
Let me use an example to convey this a bit better.
Imagine teleportation is suddenly a “thing” and I’ve just teleported you into the middle of a house party.
A party rammed with people and you don’t know ANYONE.
The music’s blaring…..everyone is talking loudly in their own little groups….and you’re plonked right in the middle (I haven’t even given you a drink to hold).
Pretty scary and intimidating right? You might panic a bit. Sweat. Run as fast as you can for the exit.
Now imagine a different situation where you turn up a bit early, this time by the conventional methods in an Uber.
Now, you have time to walk up to the party. It’s quieter. You can clearly asses the situation, maybe work out where the bar is and who you might try to talk too.
Much better right?
This time you’re not “submerged in the thick of it”. You have SPACE TO THINK and assess, and this is exactly what you can train your brain to do too.
Teach it to create space between you and your thoughts.
MIND CONTROL TACTICS 101
Like I said earlier, because of the profound effect mind prep can have, it plays a big part in my programme. In fact it’s one of my 4 elements to be practiced every day.
I’m not going to give all my secrets away (you’ll have to sign up for that) but here’s something you can try.
A simple step by step routine…..ready?
1. Find a quiet room.
2. Sit down in a comfortable position.
3. Turn your phone off but set the timer for 5 minutes and press “start” (gradually you’ll build this time up)
4. Shut your eyes and picture a football.
5. Thoughts will come into your head. When they do, focus even harder on that football.
6. Stay there, not moving, thinking about the football until the alarm goes off.
When thoughts enter your head, give them a moment but then bring your focus straight back to that football.
Some points to note:
Meditation is NOT about stopping your thoughts. That’s impossible. Your brain is BUILT to think and who are we to deny it of that capability.
Meditation will never really be done wrongly. You may think it wasn’t very good because you couldn’t hold your focus, but that’s totally cool. You don’t have awesome training sessions in the gym every time do you?
Meditation takes time. Remember, it’s training.
Meditation is not just for people who wear no shoes trying to find enlightenment (does anyone really know what that even means), In fact you read the biography of most successful men, I can almost guarantee it’s part of their daily routine.
And remember this, you may not always feel different afterwards. I know there are times when I don’t. But think of these sessions as practice for the real event.
Practice for when you crash a hire car, or when you feel those nagging thoughts about how much you hate your body creep in, or when sh*t just starts to hit the fan.
I told you at the start that I now deal with these situations very differently to how I would have done. I can manage those overwhelming times, think a lot clearer when I’ve got loads going on, and ultimately preserve my energy which allows me to fight my way out.
Practicing mind prep techniques is what I believe has played a HUGE part in my own personal transformation and you should consider getting involved too chicken lips.
So rather than turn your nose up at it, give it whirl and remember…..to make it a habit it needs to happen daily.
Forget Sudoku…..start mind preppin’
Phil “the bald coach” Hyland
Ps. If you’re into this whole self improvement game, and want to upgrade your confidence?
A decent place to start is by making damn sure you have a body to be proud of.
In fact, you need to start by jumping on my totally FREE email course to help you become that guy who actually likes his body.
Just give me your email in that orange box below to begin.