One of the lessons in life everyone should learn at least once is driving a manual transmission. It wasn’t invented to just look good in a Fast and Furious movie, you know? This goes for both men and women. Not only does it teach us the conventional style of driving a car, but also teaches a thing or two along the way that just make us better at tackling life than our automatic transmission-driving counter parts. It also significantly raises our coolness quotient. Win-win.
1. We are better at multitasking.
Think about the brain firing signals at multiple levels – your limbs working different functions at the same time in a well-coordinated manner that let you move the car from point A to point B. Over time, we become better at handling multiple tasks in life as well. Whether it is handling different projects at work, tackling various tasks that go hand-in-hand with raising a family, or going after a creative passion while still maintaining your core aptitude, we are just better at maintaining that balance. Our multi-faceted neurological pulses are always active.
2. We have our priorities laid out.
We know what needs to come first. We know what needs to be handled first. We know what requires our attention first. Then we get that done. Period. When we’re driving a manual, all our attention is on the road, on our left leg pressing on the clutch followed by our right hand switching gears, our right leg switching between the brake and the accelerator and our left hand maneuvering the steering wheel. Everything else is secondary.
You won’t see us texting or eating or doing any activity that would divert our attention from the road. We know that it is near impossible so we refrain altogether. Our priority is to keep the car and everyone in it, safe. So we do just that. Likewise, our priorities in life are always set according to urgency. Homework before a weekend party, projects before a college game, work before happy hour. Translation – we get better at time management. We pay our bills on time; we get to places on time. Tardiness gets thrown out of the door. Consequently, we become more organized.
3. We fix things instead of throwing them away.
We manual drivers love our cars and everything about it. Not to say our counterparts don’t, but I feel our attachment is a notch higher. We want to know everything about the car, how it works, how to fix it, etc.
Traditionally speaking, cars were meant to be manual and we were meant to be in control so in case anything went wrong, we could fix it because everything was mechanical. No computers or gear change sensors were involved. This gives rise to a constant need for us to be handy. Broken light bulb? Fix it. Broken relationship? Fix it. We tend to take care of everything just a little more than is required. We go that extra length to make sure everything is back to how it was – in life and with our beloved cars.
4. We are open to new things and experiences.
With all the cars today slowly switching to automatic transmissions, it’s hard to switch over. I mean, why would you when all you have to do is sit, let your right leg and a hand do the most minimal work to get you from one place to another. But for those of us who learn how to drive a manual or those who’ve always driven one, it becomes easier to get out of our comfort zones through the course of our life.
Not only are we more enthusiastic about new experiences, but we’re faster at adapting to an alien environment or a new skill that we just learnt. We travel the world, learn about different cultures, take a cooking lesson and pick up a new language. It’s all muscle memory from that point on and we know that. We embrace everything that life has to offer with open arms.
5. We’re more adventurous.
When you think about a manual, what comes to mind? Speed? Control? Adrenaline? Mustangs? Wranglers? Your mind subconsciously correlates this with adventure and excitement. That moment when we’re switching between gears, the heart jumps just a little higher every time. We learn to associate that with adventure. We learn to associate that with exploring unchartered territories. Speed gets us tingling and the adrenaline drives us wild. It almost becomes a necessity to feel this way all the time.
So we go looking for anything that replicates that feeling. The feeling of being alive. Snowboarding down a black diamond, surfing some mavericks, climbing mountains, long road trips or giving ourselves up to the outdoors and nature, we give up the feeling of merely existing and start living.