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Jim Walker: Just turn INTO the skid of life

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Here in Southern California, we don’t get much opportunity to drive in snow, and so our opportunities to get into skids are also reduced. Consequently, while we can certainly get into a skid as a result of rain-slicked roads, or, you know, just through our own dumb driving, in SoCal, skid advice might be better considered as a metaphor for life management.

Herein, we use it as such.

According to, “Unless you have been trained in how to respond to a snow- or ice-induced skid, you will invariably succumb to what the experts call ‘target fixation.’ That is: focusing on your impending doom instead of taking proper evasive action. This will result in a crash.”

Does this sound like your modus operandi in life, my friends?

Also, according to, when you find yourself in a skid, “You have to go against your natural tendencies. You need to turn into the skid. And you also need to accelerate.”

So, basically, as we are considering it here, this advice means that, to change your unhappy life circumstances, you must first stop morbidly focusing on your problems, and, second, go against your natural tendencies to respond to problems, which have never served you well in the past, anyway, and, third, you need to put the pedal to the metal in a more constructive direction.

Let’s look at these actions separately:


Avoid target fixation

When you suddenly realize the big freight train of life is barreling down on you, the worst thing you can do is watch in helpless fascination as it approaches. If you can keep your wits about you, sometimes all you have to do is step off the tracks, bro. Acting like a deer in headlights will only turn you into venison.

Avoiding target fixation might include doing such things as getting your resume together the day you realize your boss is dating your rival — or quietly slipping out of the house the instant you see your wife burn her hair with the flat iron.

Now, even worse than helplessly watching doom approach is creating a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” in which you dwell so hard on the possibility of something bad happening that you actually cause it to happen. In this category would be things such as accusing your partner of cheating so often that you drive him or her into the arms of another — or imagining you have a brain tumor so hard you pop a vein under your skull.


Try a new approach

In most cases, the difficulties and impending dooms of life are a result of our own actions — self-defeating actions that may be habitual and almost instinctive, such as dating beautiful (i.e., selfish) women … or rooting for the UCLA Bruins football team.

Much better would be to date women who need a green card, because they will at least treat you like a king for awhile … and to root for the arch-rival Trojans. They win most of the time, anyway, and, if they lose, well, you hate ’em, so ’t’sallgood.


Step on the gas

As the song lyrics go:

“If you’re goin’ through hell, keep on goin’.

“Don’t slow down, if you’re scared don’t show it.

“You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

The idea here is that, if you focus on the solution, the way out, so to speak, and step on the gas, you just might leave all the crappola behind you.

For example, instead of playing the victim, begging and waiting endlessly for a loan modification, much better would be to let them take the old shack and join in the class-action lawsuit against your lender later.

Besides, you meet the nicest people on the street, I can tell you.

And if your column isn’t quite working … just write faster, pal, and make a run for it.

And so, for some reason, I leave you with these well known, positivity-inducing lines:

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Blah, blah, blah. Destiny is overrated.

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