Manual Gear shift

The Art of Shifting

Whether a manual transmission or a major life event, the art of shifting is all about perspective.

By Dana Smith

When you think of The Art of Shifting, what comes to mind? Is it shifting a manual transmission vehicle? Shifting something you’re doing to improve parts of your life, or is it shifting your whole life?

There are many things it could be. In the trucking world, shifting a manual transmission is a skill in itself. It’s all about timing. Getting your clutch foot to move at the same time as your right hand, or left, depending on what country you drive in.

So when you do shift the truck, what happens? It depends on how you shift it. If you are grinding gears, ramming and jamming all the time, the truck doesn’t shift smoothly, and has a harder time going up the road. But if you find that groove with your timing, the truck shifts so much better and easier, gaining speed and performing the way it is supposed to. It changes to the next higher gear and goes faster, then again and again, and so on. This is how you make progress, and get to where you want to go, in an efficient manner.

As a truck trainer, I’m constantly trying to show students how to do this. A term we use in the industry is “clutch, clutch”. It helps a student to get in sync with their hands and feet. Saying these two words out loud while shifting, is the exact timing one needs to shift the truck. So, when the student is having trouble with it, and grinding gears, I will reiterate those two words, “clutch, clutch”, and as silly as it sounds, it works!

We all have things that we want to shift in our lives. Maybe just shifting certain things, but not all. Here’s a few examples of things people may change in their life:

If you don’t like your job, you find a new one. 

If you aren’t happy with your relationship, you start a new one. 

If you aren’t feeling well, you take a pill. 

If you don’t like where you live, you move.

If you spend all your money, you make more.

If you don’t like the car you drive, you get another one.

If you don’t like a certain food, you eat something else.

You can start to see a pattern emerging here. For every negative side, there is a positive. The point is that people are always shifting gears in some form or another. This is taking you down a pathway. So, how can shifting something like the things above take me down a different route? Imagine moving to a different town or city. The things you do, the people you meet, and the places you go will put you in different situations than you would have been in previously, thus shifting your life path in a different direction, altering the path you are taking now.

Having a life shift can be very much the same as shifting a truck. Getting everything in sync so you’re in flow, and running smoothly with minimal stress. Many of us have had many obstacles to overcome in our lives at times. Career, financial, relationships, and health issues to name a few. They all seem so bad at the time, and we think we will never overcome them.

The things mentioned above are not life altering, but they could be for some people. But what about when someone close to you dies? Then what? This is typically when a major shift happens. 

You really have two choices. You can feel terrible about it and reflect on how short life is, and please remember you do have to grieve, which is part of healing. You can choose to go inward, which can cause other issues to occur within yourself, or you can choose to celebrate the person by remembering who they were, and what they accomplished in their life. An example might be if someone passes away from cancer, then you could take up the cause of learning about it, and teaching others how to deal with it. Some may even make donations or raise money for the cause of their loved ones.

But fortunately, there is a silver lining in it all. When we think of all the negative things that happen during the course of daily life, we could see them as teaching moments instead. What are we supposed to learn from this? What path am I supposed to be on? There are always lessons to be learned.

When you look at life this way, you will have a very different perspective on things. This is called a shift. In many cases, there are life altering events that shift us and change our perspective, such as a relationship breakup, a job loss, financial ruin, a major health issue, or even death to someone close to you as mentioned previously.

When these kind of things happen, life shifts for us, whether we like it or not. We really get to see a whole new perspective on life. Sometimes it’s a minor adjustment, and other times it’s very impactful.

But why does it take a life changing event to shift those gears, and change perspective? Why can’t we see the big picture now, instead of waiting for something to happen? Only you can answer that for yourself.

So think about the shift you want to make in your life. Because there is an Art to Shifting!

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