Failing My Driving Test

driving test mindset Feb 11, 2021

At 18 years old I was booked to take my driving test in three months time.  Each day I would go out and practice in the car until I knew that I was ready to take the test.  The only thing is, in the evening I would worry about what would happen on the day of the test.  Would I pass, would I fail, night after night I worried and worked through all the possible fails that could happen. 

Finally the day of the test came I got in the car and…. the test was awful.  My legs turned to jelly,  my brain slowed down to a stand-still and I bunny-hopped all around the block.   

You see although physically I was prepared to take the test, my mental preparation was working in the exact opposite direction.  I was planning to fail the test night after night - I was scared of failing but that was all I was working towards.    I was stuck in a fear cycle.  I was so scared of failing that all I could do was practice failing night after night, until the day of the test, I failed.   So, let’s break this down and see what went wrong.

Failure 1:  Over-committed to an outcome  - when you are so committed to an outcome (like passing a driving test) it builds huge amounts of pressure and anxiety.  Instead, recognising that the ideal would have been to pass and not passing would have not been the end of the world and could have helped to vent some of the pressure.

Failure 2:  Rehearsing the negative - your brain works on the premise that if you can conceive it, you can achieve it.  In this case the mental rehearsals were practicing the wrong outcome. Instead if I had rehearsed the test going well, my brain would have focused on the positives, reduced some of the pre-test nerves and enabled it to go more smoothly.

Failure 3:  Learn to handle pressure - we all have to face times in our lives when we have to perform.  This could be for a job interview,  test or even a date.  Learning techniques to handle pressure and calming the mind is a really useful tool for your mental toolbox.

With these new skills which I put into practice, 6 months later I subjected myself to another opportunity to impress an examiner with my new found skills and yes you guessed it… I screwed that one up as well!

What are your experiences of embracing failure and trying again, even if you still didn't get the outcome you were looking for? Let me know in the comments below!

 Author: Dr Adam Greenfield, Co-founder of WorkLifeWell | Chiropractor | Wellness Specialist

Follow Adam on LinkedIn

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