Selecting a career path is the easiest decision one can make; I have chosen five in the nine years since high school. The problem is selecting a path and following it to completion.
When I returned to school for my most recent career path, I worked hard and did well for the first several months. Then, I started staying out late with a young lady, and the amount of time that I applied to school decreased by an order of magnitude. After several weeks with her, it was apparent that my grades were going to be bad. I told my father that I was not doing well in school, and that I was going to quit school to work full time again. He surprised me when he replied, Do you remember the first time that I let you drive?
Although I vaguely remembered the event, I said, Of course I do.
Father then ask, Do you still drive as poorly as you did that day?
Sensing one of the old man’s long-winded speeches about to start, I harshly said, No, what’s your point?
After my abrasive reply, Father shook his head and started reading a book.
Although I did not want to hear his speech, I could not keep from wondering what he wanted to say. I thought about the Saturday morning that my father let me drive for the first time. He drove me to a stretch of road so long and straight that you could see it converge in the horizon. He pulled over and told me to swap seats with him. Despite being nervous, I wasted no time getting behind the wheel. Timidly, I put the car in drive and pulled into the road. Father then said, All that you have to do is point it straight and keep it between the lines.
With father’s advice about driving in mind, I carefully lined the car between the lines and headed down the road. I did well for the first several minutes. Then, my mind wandered, and I started paying less attention to the road. In a few seconds, I felt a thump and heard the car hit gravel. I overreacted and jerked the wheel; the car slid sideways, and suddenly we stopped. I was sure that my father was going to yell about my poor driving, but he quietly said, Son, let me clarify my advice to you. It is not only about starting in the right direction and then forgetting what you are doing. It is about always paying attention to where you are and where you want to be. It is about making subtle corrections; if a correction is to big, it will always send you out of control.
After I pondered the old man’s driving advice, I decided not to quit school. I stopped seeing the young lady, and dropped two classes—which left time for me to concentrate on my remaining classes. Because of the correction, I finished the semester on the dean’s list. Almost one year has passed since then, and I am still going down the same path; I pay attention and make minor corrections when corrections are needed.