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Am I driving my life looking into the rear view mirror?


To set the background, let me mention a couple of very common examples:

There are a few things that I have heard people say often:

  • My husband or wife (could be boss too) does not understand me. S/he has never ever listened to me. S/he did this then, and then again, she did this at this time etc.

  • Whatever I try, s/he has never ever understood what it means to me, and that I expect something else.”

  • I know that s/he will not understand me. It has always been like that with this person.

  • Nothing I do, ever seems to please this person.

  • All my life, it has been this way!

This could be with regard to any relationship involving relative or friend; most common ones that come up are

  • wife and husband

  • In laws

  • boss and subordinate

  • friends

  • and last but certainly not the least, Self (yes, we all have a relationship with our own selves as well)

So what does all this have to do with “driving my life, looking into the rear view mirror?” maybe the question. And so, let me take the analogy of driving a vehicle that has rear view mirrors, and compare it with living one’s life.

In a vehicle, there are 3 main areas that a “driver” needs to focus on:

  1. Seeing what is in front and the sides – looking ahead, through the windscreen and through the sides using peripheral vision

  2. Seeing what is behind – using the rear view mirrors, maybe one inside and two outer rear view mirrors on either side of the vehicle

  3. Doing – steering, accelerating, braking, changing gears, etc.

And in the act of driving, seeing what is in front is of utmost importance. Based on what is in front, or on the sides, the driver can take appropriate action to ensure safety of the passengers in the vehicle, and more importantly, getting the vehicle to the intended destination.


It is also clear that (without technological aids like driverless cars) vision is of utmost importance to driving a vehicle. And looking at what is in front (what lies ahead as the figure of speech goes) is the most important thing in the journey. Based on what the driver sees up ahead, they take appropriate action, of steering, accelerating, changing gears, braking as the case may be.

The rear view mirror is of great use, especially when the driver wants to brake, or to change lanes, or maybe even to reverse, when the way ahead is blocked.


So, using an arbitrary “formula” based on absolutely no data except my own perception, I choose to say that the act of driving can be split up into varying percentages of focus, as follows:

  • Looking forward : 65%

  • Looking backward : 10%

  • Driving : 25%

Up to 90% of the effort and focus lies on what is ahead (future), and doing in the present (driving) as against looking backward (the past) which is 10%.