Moments — Are we letting people do too much for us?


If you ever get to drive a Subaru BRZ you will find it is a very tight car to drive — the steering responses quickly and so do the brakes, and the clutch is nice and smooth.

So when it isn't, you should appreciate something is wrong.

Recently I was driving along minding my own business when suddenly the steering wasn't as tight, and the brakes were just a little off — and at that moment, in classic guy style, I kept driving with the working assumption it would self-correct. As my tolerance waned for the "self-correcting to happen" I finally pulled over (just in case there was actually something wrong). I suppose in hindsight I really wasn't surprised I had a flat rear tire because as I said, BRZ's are tight driving cars. What surprised me was what happened next.

As I was assessing my options I said to myself, "I guess I should call a tow truck" — a moment later, I physically stopped myself and started an internal discussion that went something like this.

  • Why would I call a tow truck when I don't need a tow?
  • I have a spare and all the tools to change the tire myself.
  • I can do it in a tenth of time it will take someone to get here.
  • Other than laziness, is there any reason not to do it myself?
  • I'm glad it's not really cold and it's sunny.
  • It's a pain in the ass to empty the trunk.

It had been a while since I had changed a tire so I wasn't very efficient but it was changed in twenty minutes; I then headed off to track down a new tire. It's a fun little story to be sure, but what really resonated with me is why my first reaction would be to call a tow truck (when I obviously could do it myself)?

I appreciate the premise of "why do it yourself, when you can get someone else to do it?", and I also understand that it is "impossible to know how to do everything so you will need people's help"...  as well as the argument regarding opportunity cost and "how net/net it'll be more profitable to get someone else to do it".

But now I can't help ask the question, "When does it actually become detrimental to have someone else do it for you?"

I'm not suggesting I have any answers to this question (and frankly I only thought of it because I got a flat tire), but is does create the opportunity for a fine discussion (particularly if there is wine involved) —

  • Are you getting someone else to do it because you're lazy?
  • Is it something you just can't do or learn to do?
  • Are you spending money you "can't afford to spend" to have someone do it?
  • Are you denying your own development by letting someone else do it?
  • Are you simply concerned with the consequences?
  • Et Cetera, et cetera...

For me the biggest consideration is about "waiting". Are you putting yourself on hold because of someone else? 

Waiting is not active, and if you are not active, you are not getting things done. And if you aren't getting things done, you are not going to reach your goals. The waiting place is the worst place to be, and even a worst habit to develop because in the end you will find yourself always waiting to get something done (and in the end accomplish nothing).

As I mentioned I really don't have any answers to this other than it seems I hate to wait.