‘Chasing Cars’ is the name of a song by the band ‘Snow Patrol’. I quite like it – I’m a sucker for sad songs and this is a fine example of the genre. However, it has a little bit of ‘back story’. According to Wikipedia:
“The phrase “Chasing Cars” came from [singer Gary ] Lightbody’s father, in reference to a girl Lightbody was infatuated with, “You’re like a dog chasing a car. You’ll never catch it and you just wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did.”
That phrase has stuck with me, and I have to say that over recent months I’ve been considering more and more how much time we all spend ‘chasing cars’ in our lives. I’m currently going through one of those times in my life of what can best be described as ‘internal reflection’ (Some unkind folks might call it ‘loafing’ or ‘contemplating my navel’; I’m not listening… 🙂 ) and I guess that some of what’s going through my head right now is a product of that.
What cars do I chase? Well, I suppose over the years I’ve been a good starter and not so good finisher; ideas are very cheap – I was saying this to a group of start-up people recently – and what counts is implementing those ideas in a form that makes them usable. If it’s an idea for a business, build a business that’s making money; if for a novel, a written manuscript; if for a cunning invention – a working prototype. I’ve had a few opportunities over the years that have been very close to what most folks would have called ‘big hitting success’ but that didn’t come to fruition. On a few occasions I’ve definitely considered that, rather than being afraid of failing, I’ve previously been much more afraid of success.
For quite a few opportunity-filled years I was, looking back on it, chasing cars; had I managed to get what I was allegedly going for I’m not sure I’d have known what to do with it. Were the same opportunities to present themselves today, I can say two things; I’d give them a rather closer going over to make sure that I really DID want to chase ’em, and then when I’d made the decision I’d get out there yapping and barking until I caught ’em.
The trick is to know WHY you’re chasing your ideas and projects; what are you wanting to get from them? Money? Fame? Success with women / men / small dogs? Free food and drink at your local pub? Or do you just want to contribute to society? Grow spiritually? Help out folks less fortunate than yourself? Get your own back on folks who upset you at school?
Don’t let yourself chase cars in your life without being reasonably sure you’ll know what to do if you manage to catch the object of your desire; I’ve been there and it’s a bloody waste of time if you’re not sure!