Sometime ago, and I can't remember where (but it was probably on the Freakonomics podcast) I heard that one of the biggest correlations with success later in life was people who took the time to back into their parking spot. At the time I thought "what of load of hooey! Ha!" Clearly, I was someone who did not bother to back into spots. Logic has it that you spend the time either way, whether at the beginning or at the end, right?
Then we bought our house, and I started parking our truck over on the other side of the house to keep a space free in the driveway for visitors. There is a telephone pole on the opposite side of the street, and I can't tell you how many close calls I had backing out of that spot, where I came just inches away from crashing my tailgate into that pole. Finally I decided to commit to always backing into that spot.
And you know what? It's not the same thing at all.
When you are pulling into a spot, taking the extra minute of backing into the spot leaves you in a better position for the future, when you can pull out unimpeded. You can see the road and what for a safe moment to back in, whereas when backing OUT of a spot I have had numerous close calls. So backing in is safer and better in the literal sense.
I found to my surprise that it has deeper ramifications, though. When you take the time to prepare for your departure ahead of time, you are setting up a cascade of small decisions that together touch every aspect of your life. It's like making your bed in the morning. Because you made the bed, you face other tasks of the day with more determination and follow-through, and at the end of the day you have the pleasure or consolation (depending on how the day went) of getting into a bed that is made. Backing into my truck spot has meant that I carry some of that mentality with me, thinking at every step of everything in my day how I can make it easier for myself later by doing something now that I won't need until later.
Will it make me successful later in life? I don't know.
But I do know that it has made each day that I practice it a little more successful than it would have been otherwise.
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.