A few months ago my family got together and took our PAL and RPAL (Possession and Acquisition License, Restricted Possession and Acquisition License). It allows me to purchase, store and use restricted firearms such as revolvers and/or semi-automatic firearms. It’s not that I’m a collector or even an avid hunter but my wife and I have 80 acres in the country and we have bears.
Doing the PAL/RPAL courses gave me a deep sense of respect for potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. Watching numerous videos of absent minded people or even just situations where simple distractions or ignorance caused high crisis outcomes was very sobering. The course teaches and enforces a methodical system of storing, handling and using a firearm. The rules and procedures are based on eliminating all (or virtually all) potentially grave situations. Even things as simple as pointing the barrel of a gun in an unsafe direction or storing ammunition in a different place than the firearm. All the procedures support an uninterrupted respect for the potential dangers inherent in all firearms. There is no “playing”, “joking” or shortcuts. It’s a sober topic that is presented to presumably mature minded people.
I enjoyed learning the system because it demanded a serious, deliberate and professional mindset. It forces an otherwise playful person to constantly consider all the short and long term affects of immaturity and carelessness. It exposes how one moment of thoughtlessness and distraction can cause disastrous consequences.
Being a professional truck driver (or independent contractor) also requires a deliberate and serious mindset. Moving at 100km per hour with an 80,000 pound vehicle is serious business. Even still, its not always popular to be professional. Some are teased as: anal, prudish, slow, bossy or worse. Yet when it comes to long term results, those who develop and submit themselves to the high quality systems that lower or eliminate failure always tend to succeed.
It also got me to think about what would happen if we would apply a serious level of professionalism to all the areas of our lives? What if we would follow all the rules for financial success, would we not see a serious reward? What about relationships: marital, family and personal? What if we would apply all the rules to career development? Would we not build a great reputation and cultivate opportunities? If we would lay aside or temper the attraction to pleasure, comfort or pride, where would we be in 10 years or even 20? Would we not gain the respect and comfort we all desire? If we sacrifice the now for the future, would we not have a great one?
Dave Ramsey’s greatest quote is “ if you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else”.
If we learn the secrets to respect and success we will usually surround ourselves with a similar world. If I respect and submit to authority such as the DOT, I can safely live in a world free from DOT’s volatile residue.
Respecting guns is sometimes easier than respecting authority because guns are an inanimate object. Its doesn’t talk back or insult you.
Respect for authority should be unconditional. We can’t disrespect a police officer just because he somehow didn’t measure up to our expectations. We can’t mouth off to our boss just because we are having a bad day… or he is. Those “shortcuts” are dangerous. Eventually someone can get shot.
Sometimes I fear for the future generation. They have failed to learn the art of humility and discipline. They seek the shortest route to “basking in the benefits”. They want all the benefits yet avoid the disciplined responsibilities. Maybe they are just children with mature bodies.
I once talked to an independent operator who was having a tough time financially and didn’t know why. His fuel expense was above normal and he didn’t know what to do. In conversation he stated he traveled at 110+km per hour because he valued his home time, relaxation and believed that getting somewhere faster meant he could accumulate more miles in the week. Yet his average miles was very little above normal. He simply refused to submit to the “truth” about fuel economy with a truck. He believed he was the exception to the rules. It was clear by the facts that he was not. He believed he was the exception to a lot of other rules as well.
If being a professional driver requires a deliberate, disciplined and serious mindset about your work. Being a professional PERSON will require a disciplined serious mindset in all the areas of life. Successful life requires detailed training and submission to the right rules.
I think, the wiser we get, the more we realize how important the rules are. They are there to keep us from being shot.