vehicles have a check engine light. A malfunction indicator lamp that flashes a
of an engine, alerting the driver of serious troubles like low oil pressure,
potential overheating, catalytic converter issues, emissions problems or an
This light can be a lifesaver. It can help drivers erase a
major problem before it becomes one.
Of course, sometimes the light simply
means a loose gas cap. Or a sudden change in humidity. Or a minor sensor
problem. Or a couple of hungry mice that got under the hood and chewed on the
These examples are known asfalse triggers, in which the dashboard mistakenly interprets the car sensor readings
as being more severe than they really are. And so, there’s no need for panic.There’s
no need to skid onto the shoulder. And there’s no need to spend the whole day
at the dealership.
The goal is to be aware of it. Even thankful for it. And
instead of slapping a piece of black tape over the light, taking action
promptly, thus keeping the issue from potentially escalating down the road.
That’s how I feel about my anxiety. It’s like the check engine light of my
psychological engine. And every time it flashes, I remind myself not to panic.
Because odds are, there aren’t any serious, systemic issues that need to be
It’s just an early warning sign. An invitation to notice
what my body is trying to tell me. An opportunity to nip the anxiety in the
bud, lest it morphs into an actual problem.
You’re not having an existential
crisis, you just need more air conditioning.
I’m reminded of the time
I got into a fender bender at a stoplight. Nobody was hurt, everybody had
insurance, and the cars were mildly dented. No problem, right?
Then I left the
country for a month. And by the time I got home, I had forgotten all about my
little accident. And every time that check engine light illuminated, it just
ignored it and went back to singing car karaoke.
Fast forward to a few months
later, I was driving down the highway a hot summer day, when the dashboard
suddenly burst into flames. Smoke filled the car. The steering wheel locked.
And the engine defaulted into automatic shutdown mode.Not good.
Miraculously, I was able to swerve over to the side of
the road in time. I stumbled out of the car in a cloud of smoke and phoned
roadside assistance. By the time the tow truck arrived, the smoke had died down
and the car was fine. Although the driver was still a bit terrified.
arrived at the body shop, the mechanic told me that the coolant had overheated
and damaged the radiator. When I asked him what might have caused it, he asked
if the car had been in any accidents in the past few months.
Shit. The fender bender. Coming back to
haunt me. Forgot all about it.
And of course, the mechanic scratched his head
and asked, but didn’t your check engine light ever come on?
sometimes the light is a false trigger, and sometimes it really is an early
But both signals deserve our attention.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you putting a piece of black tape over your feelings?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
Now booking for 2017-2018.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of
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