TORONTO, Ont. –On the road of life, drivers should aim to be trucks, not squirrels, said lawyer, business book author and advisor Andrew J. Sherman.
He has penned some 17 books, the latest of which, Road Rules, aims to help readers navigate the road of life.
The book’s basic premise is that driving is a metaphor for life in general, and it’s important to stay as connected as possible with the thrill of driving.
Many of the book’s philosophies also speak to the strength of the truck driver.
“I want truck drivers and companies to know I’m very pro-truck. They play a very important role in our society but catch a lot of flack,” said Sherman.
On the eco-system of the highway, the 18-wheeler is the most powerful vehicle, he said, and there are many attributes of effective leadership that can be seen in truck drivers.
Namely, their ability to focus for long periods of time.
“To truly be the metaphorical truck you must embrace the notion that you are in control of your own destiny,” said Sherman.
There are 12 essential rules to follow on the metaphorical (and physical) road of life…
1) In being the truck, and not the squirrel, you need a game plan: This doesn’t mean to barrel down the highway at top speed. Rather, you should embrace the ride toward your destination. Don’t be the one who “didn’t see his demise coming,” ie. the squirrel.
2) Share the Road: While it sometimes seems that society may have lost sight of the importance of basic courtesies, many statistics show that most workers would forfeit significant financial raises and bonuses to be recognized, trusted and respected. “Don’t begin believing that you must win at the expense of others at any cost, when in fact there is plenty of road for all of us to share,” said Sherman. “You do not always need to be the driver to share in the satisfaction of others reaching their destinations.”
3) Happiness is a clear windshield: Sometimes, said Sherman, we can really allow our windshields to become foggy. Allowing the perceptions of our own limitations to define us means they most certainly will. “Complacency can also cloud your vision to the point of harming others. Be remembered for how you made people feel, not for what you did or said.”
4) Embrace your dashboard: Customize you dashboard around your own dreams, goals and aspirations. Ask yourself, how much life is left in my vehicle, what roads have I travelled, how hard is my engine working to get more efficient productivity, how fast am I going, and how far have I travelled on this journey? “We need a meter on our life dashboards that prevents us from making a lazy or surface level interpretation of a series of events or expected consequences. We should be committed to giving more than we get, contributing more than we extract, adding more than we subtract,” said Sherman.
5) Pay careful attention to the ‘Road Signs of Life’: When have you kept going when you should have stopped completely, or slowed to a complete stop when you should have kept your momentum? Keep right and a pure heart as your guide. Do the right things and take the right actions in order to enrich yourself and others around you, said Sherman.
6) Be guided by your navigational system: Our subconscious speaks to us during 100% of our waking lives through our instincts, gut feelings, etc. Being the truck and not the squirrel means committing to paying more careful attention to these life navigational aids. “Use devices and tools to get to your destination, but trust your gut for the final decisions and to make adjustments to the route plan that may be necessary,” said Sherman. Your driving style is often a reflection and an insight as to how you live your life. Character is defined by the
conduct you choose and the decisions you make when nobody is looking and nobody is around.
7) Don’t fear the back roads: When a truck is stuck in traffic, its driver must explore alternative routes based on knowledge, instinct, experience and satellite-driven, real-time navigational assistance or a radio call into central dispatch. And it is on the back roads where some of life’s greatest lessons can be learned. “If we just sit and accept our fate, then yes, we’ll eventually reach our destination, but at what cost in terms of the time and productivity lost?” said Sherman. “Trucks also understand the importance of changing lanes from time to time. Getting too comfortable in the same lane leads to complacency and a lack of innovation.”
8) Be an all-weather driver, and know how to adjust for conditions: ‘Being the truck’ means learning to drive on the road of life in all weather conditions. And being built like a truck is a testament to durability -how well can the person sustain a body blow and keep on fighting? “Our level of energy expended should be roughly parallel to the degree of our progress. How many times has your fear of risk, your desire to be politically correct or not challenge authority impeded your forward or backward progress?” asked Sherman.
9) Accidents can happen even to the best drivers: “Trucks are not pretty. Neither is the pathway to success,” noted Sherman.
10) Objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear: Central theme: it’s never too late to change your driving instructor, your style, vehicles passengers or cargo you carry. You are the “author of your own life’s story.” Your skill sets, choices, network, street smarts, and overall determination will greatly influence your outcomes and consequences of your decisions.
11) Life is a four-way intersection: “Philosophically, we do have obligations to play tour guide to those travelling the roads that we have already travelled,” said Sherman. Things that matter the most must never be at the mercy of things that matter the least, he said. “This ties in to what we’re going through in our economy: we’re losing sight of what our true priorities are. You’re going to be severely disappointed if we measure success by our bank accounts. If you are completely alone, it’s a time to re-bond with friends or get out and create some relationships. If it’s a matter of being estranged from things or people that mean a lot, use your downtime to reconnect,” he said.
12) Don’t judge a driver by his vehicle: “Truckers shouldn’t have a bad image, in my opinion. In the ecosystem of the road of life, the truck is strong, durable, and travels in all types of weather. Drivers are mission and purpose-driven, and carriers of valuable cargo,” said Sherman.
Keeping our relationships healthy, and remaining willing to learn will keep us on the right roads.
“We spend most of our lives devoted to activities that diminish our fuel and then wonder why our tank is empty,” he said. Road Rules is available for purchase online at Amazon.ca.