Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Slow Down and Enjoy the Ride

The best money making opportunities can be found behind the wheel of a car- if you’re paying attention.

I recently saw a disturbingly common sight on my way to the University of Miami to speak to a group of students. The woman in the next car was combing her hair and applying lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara – all while maneuvering in and out of traffic. Thank heaven she’d taken a shower before she left home.

I once actually saw a man putting in contact lenses as he careened down the freeway at 65 miles per hour. One tap on the brakes and those contacts would have been firmly imbedded somewhere near his brain stem. It might have given him the ability to read his own mind, but the pain wouldn’t have been worth it.

On still another occasion, I sat at a traffic signal and heard the awful sound of screeching tires. The car skidding to a stop beside me was engulfed in blue smoke and the odor of burning rubber. The driver’s face was white as a sheet – except for one brilliant red streak of lipstick zigzagging from the corner of her mouth to the lobe of her left ear. The tube of lipstick was still trembling in her hand. She must have learned her lesson, because she stuck with the clown treatment until she found a safer place to modify it.

I’ve seen people read books, juggle road maps, and even groom their pets as they rocket down the freeway. Once I watched a man shave and talk on a cellular phone at the same time. He had to have been steering with his knees. I could only hope he was saving his thigh master workout until he got home.

What ever happened to driving as a relaxing pastime that required people to pay attention? Oh, occasionally you’d see someone singing along with the radio, tapping the steering wheel, head bobbing like one of those back-window toy pooches. And yes, once in a while you’d see some disgusting person driving with their finger in their nose tending to those little personal hygiene items.

In an effort to relax and chill from the week, stressed out people used to go for a Sunday drive just to unwind. Today, such a person would be considered a road hazard. The “Sunday driver” has been replaced by a phenomenon called “road rage.” You can get shot for taking your time and enjoying the trip. Apparently, the guy shaving and talking on the phone also has a gun in his lap.

Next time you get a free moment, go for a drive. After the traffic subsides, drive to the suburbs or even downtown. Leave your guns, razors and phones at home. Take no makeup. Leave the radio off and look around you as you drive. You’ll notice the buildings you never knew were there – they built them while you were talking on the phone.

You’ll see people you didn’t know inhabited the planet. And pay very close attention: You may notice the “for sale” sign on a piece of real estate that has been on the market for two years. It could be yours for well below its market value. You might stumble across the headquarters of a major corporation that just moved into town. You might catch a glimpse of the discount outlets offering reduced prices on tattoos, video games and movies – allowing you to invest the savings into a mutual fund.

While you’re taking that drive, why spend a little time thinking carefully about your future goals? Consider the world in which you live and the opportunities all around you. Make a vow to open the window, slow down and enjoy the ride.

Michael Chatman has spoken to more than two million young adults from coast to coast. As a teen and young adult financial motivator, he inspires his audiences to develop their personal greatness and take responsibility for their financial future. To contact Michael, visit:MichaelChatman.com

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