Roadblocks To Success

Roadblocks To Success


When people think of Iowa, they typically think of cornfields and miles upon miles of flat land. Davenport, Iowa, where I attended chiropractic school, however, is actually quite hilly in places, particularly where it rises to the west of the mighty Mississippi River. And, Palmer College of Chiropractic sits atop the steepest hill in town, Brady Street hill.


One day, while walking to my classes, I encountered a group of fellow students who had all gathered to watch an old Excalibur car that was struggling to make the grade. Now, if you’ve never seen one of these cars before, they look remarkably similar to the car from the movie Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. So, naturally, I joined them in watching. As the driver started to get more and more frustrated, various suggestions were offered up from those in my group. The first thing suggested by one of my fellow students was that salt should be applied to the roadway to afford the driver better traction. Even though it was the middle of July, everyone felt that the memory of the recent long, harsh winter should be addressed and dealt with before moving forward. Salt was liberally applied around the tires of the old Excalibur, but it did not do any good. The next thing that was suggested was that the driver should press harder on the gas pedal. Everybody remembered the story of The Little Engine That Could and maybe the driver just wasn’t trying hard enough! The driver pressed harder on the gas pedal and the old Excalibur made lots of noise and smoke. Everyone cheered at the increased effort, but still, no progress was made up the hill. Another astute student suggested that the driver should back all the way down Brady Street hill to the very bottom, empty out all of his belongings and place any other unnecessary weight such as the car’s doors, trunk lid and spare tire onto the ground and then get a running start up the hill. Unfortunately, when the frazzled driver did this, he did not even make it half way as far up the hill as before. About this time, a passing professional-looking, business-suit-wearing gentleman stated that the driver was in the wrong type of car for making such a climb in the first place. He advised the driver to “grow up and drive something more respectable.” A nearby local minister, hearing the commotion, approached and counseled the driver that, according to his Book, it was sinful to want to make such a climb in the first place! Fortunately, before the driver could change cars or give up his climb altogether, a rather quiet student stepped up to the old Excalibur and its rattled occupant and stated the following: “Clear the salt from the roadway and leave it be. Ease up on the gas pedal and cease your struggling. Gather ALL of your belongings and the dismantled parts of your car and put them back where they belong. Keep the beautiful car you have and continue your climb. Now, take your other foot off of the brake!!!” The driver did as instructed and completed his climb without any further difficulty.


Most of us go through life with one foot on the brake at all times. We create our own struggles and get in our own way. We never accomplish all that we are capable of. Like the student who suggested adding salt to the roadway in the middle of July, we get caught up re-living and resuscitating our past problems and perceived failures instead of just moving forward. Or, just like pressing harder and harder on the gas pedal, we become addicted to struggle, constantly trying harder and harder at strategies that don’t work for us. Sometimes, we opt for short-term solutions to long-term problems. Dumping everything and starting over fresh, whether in the form of bankruptcy, change of job, change of partner or change of geographic location typically leaves us with less than where we originated from, much like our driver who backed down the hill, dumped his “excess weight” and tried for a running start. As long as we continue to keep our other foot on the brake, however, it is all for naught. Pressures for conformity are ever present through our colleagues, co-workers, neighbors and even strangers. Staying true to ourselves requires a never ending vigilance. And then, there are those feelings of unworthiness that can block us from ever accepting our good, no matter what form it shows up in. In each and every one of these instances, however, the only one blocking us from our dreams is us!


Isn’t it about time you took YOUR other foot off of the brake?!?


Dr. Jon M. Ketcham
copyright 2013

You Don't Need A Bribe To Join My Tribe...

No whiz-bang reports. No "Secret" Strategies. I won't beg and cajole you. Just an invitation...Come, let's walk this journey called "life" together. Once a month or so, you'll get an update with insights and excerpts of our journey. Go ahead, make it official.. Let's walk this journey as one.