I knew this guy that had bought a new car recently. For him it was a big deal, because all of the cars he’s ever driven have been used. And when he bought them used, they were at least several years old. He is a very successful businessman, and I always wondered why he didn’t want to spend a lot of money on cars, because I was sure he could afford it. He had expensive clothes, and he lived in a nice area of town, in a very upscale apartment building, so I wasnâ€™t really sure why he insisted on buying used cars all the time.
But whatever the reason, he apparently got over it, as he bought a brand new, state of the art, top of the line SUV. I think it was made in Germany because the quality was incredible. One thing though, he didn’t like at all. It had this navigation system that would always talk to him while he was driving. None of his other cars had navigation systems, and he had always prided himself on being able to find his way around, even when he drove to strange cities that he’d never been to before. He said he could “sniff” where he wanted to go. When he was going to a meeting or something important to his business, he would only get the major cross streets, look at a map briefly before he left, and then go only by memory or by instinct. So when he got this talking car that told him what was what every time he turned a corner, I could understand why he was so frustrated with it. Especially since it was always telling him some potential danger up ahead.
He said it was like having a voice in your head that is always telling about something bad that will happen. Like when you want to get up and give a speech or ask out a pretty girl, there’s always this voice saying, “be careful, you might get hurt or embarrassed.” Most people hear that voice and then obey it completely, like it is a voice from God himself or something. Others donâ€™t even hear it at all, they just get a funny uncomfortable feeling, and when they decide not to do what they were thinking of doing, the voice shuts up and the feeling goes away.
One interesting thing my friend did was figure out how to reprogram his navigation system. What he did was program his goal, or destination into the system, and then put in the time he needed to be there. Then whenever it talked to him, it only told him things specific to his goal. When he realized that the voice he kept hearing were only suggestions, and because it was some mechanical robot voice making them, he didn’t have to take them into consideration if he didn’t want to. He could always listen to them, and then decide what to do based on what they said. Most of the time he just ignored the voice, although sometimes he paid attention just to see what happened. And the time that he did that, although it saved him a few minutes, he decided that it wasn’t that much fun paying attention to some robot voice. So eventually he took his car to the dealership and had the thing dismantled.
And when I finally asked him about why he always drove around used cars, it was because when he was a kid, his dad was a used car salesman. And his dad had told him that since used car salesman always have a bad reputation, he would try really hard to give people an honest deal. So when my friend would buy a different car, he would specifically buy them from used car lot out of respect for his dad. When he figured he’d respected his dad enough, he decided that it was time to move on, and generate some of his own respect. Which is one of the reasons, I think, he became so successful.