Come on England!! (Oh, and I hope your driving test goes well!)

When you’re coming up for your driving test, it becomes the principal focus – the be-all and end-all. The worry about whether you’ll pass can eclipse everything else in your life. That is, of course, unless you have something even BIGGER to worry about!

The World Cup has just started, so I’ll tell you a football-related story which shows a way you can pin your hopes on something other than the test, just to make it less stressful.

I used to be a driving instructor and I taught a man called Peter who was a Liverpool fan. (I follow Arsenal, just in case you were wondering.) Peter and I would always take some time out after lessons to discuss the finer points in life – the forthcoming fixtures, last weekend’s scores, who was most likely to top the Premiership…

Peter’s test was due on a Thursday. His last lesson was booked on the Tuesday at 6.30 pm. Liverpool were playing in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, second leg, against the German team Bayer Leverkusen at 7.45 pm. Peter had been thinking about this for weeks and I was under strict instructions to pick him up on time so he wouldn’t miss any of the match.

As we were driving along a quiet road, I put a hypothetical situation to him:

“If you had the choice between passing your test first time while Liverpool get knocked out of the Champions League, or passing your test second time while Liverpool win the Champions League, which would you choose?”

His response was perfect – true dedication:

“Listen mate,” he said, “I’d be happy to take three tests!”

Not everybody is interested in football, of course, but Peter had found an aspect of his life that was more important than his driving. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take the test seriously – it is important and you’ll really need to work hard to get to a pass standard – but you could perhaps focus on something that’s more important to you. That way, the test may not seem so scary.

Think about it: you don’t want to fail (for lots of reasons – you’ll have to pay to book another test, it’ll delay your independence, etc) but it won’t be the end of the world and you can take another one soon. Try to see a failed driving test as a stepping-stone along the way to the ultimate goal of passing. And then, when you do pass, you’ll be more experienced and better prepared for the roads.

Sometimes I’d pick people up an hour or so before their test and they’d be quivering nervous wrecks. They’d have lain awake all night and been sitting on the loo all morning! Fear of the examiners, fear of failure or fear of financial loss may be the principal reasons for test nerves, but the intensity of the fear is disproportionate to the impact that a failed test may have on your life. In fact, when your driving test is finished, one of two things will happen:

  1. You’ve passed and your life will change for the better, or
  2. You’ve failed and your life will remain the same.

So what IS the big deal?

Of course, logical thinking can’t always alter how you feel, so don’t expect to be able to wave a magic wand to solve the problem of test nerves. But the driving test is not such an important event. If you can try to find a way to play down the test in your mind, so as not to set such overwhelming importance on it, then at least you can relax about it a little more.

Just think of the worst thing that could happen to you (even if you’re not a football fan!), and then imagine that you have failed your driving test. No comparison really, is there?

Enjoy the World Cup…and all the best with your driving test. It’s probably safe to say that you have a better chance of passing than England have of winning, but I support you all anyway!