A Step Farther

I recently read a sad but interesting story about Dr. John Gray, the psychologist who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.  Apparently, this story served as an impetus for some of his thinking and writing, and it was especially instrumental in the creation of Men, Women, and Relationships.

One night Gray’s father picked up a hitchhiker who proceeded to rob him and then lock him in trunk of his own car. A couple of calls alerted the police to an abandoned car, but they weren’t able to locate it. Finally, the third caller gave better directions, and the car was found. Unfortunately, by that time, Dr. Gray’s father had died of heat asphyxiation.

When Dr. Gray came home for the funeral, he got in the trunk so that he could experience what his father experienced. He could see the multiple dents that his father’s fists had made and could also put his hand through the busted out taillight. Gray’s brother suggested that he stick his arm out just a bit farther  and see if he could hit the release button for the trunk. He did and it opened. If only his father…….Dr. Gray saw this situation as a metaphor for some of life’s emotional challenges. In his mind, the trunk release button was like a person’s emotional release button;  IF they could only reach out and push it, their lives could immediately begin to change for the better.

 I, one the other hand, looked at this story as illustrative of the power of going one step farther. So many people give up and quit right before their dreams or goals are reached. I  know about a dozen people who are literally one step away from earning a Ph.D.; they’re known as A.B.D.’s, all but dissertation. WHY? Oh, I know some of the whys, and I know it’s a long, hard road to earning this degree, and yet one step farther and you’d have it, the sheepskin that would open so many doors. Is it about industry? Perseverance? Confidence? Time management? I don’t know.

I do know that when you think all is lost and you just cannot make one more step or try once more, you should keep on keeping on. It took Leonardo da Vinci years to paint The Last Supper. From what I can read, this accomplishment is even more amazing because he was reportedly a known procrastinator famous for leaving projects unfinished. If he hadn’t completed this painting, there’d be others to see and admire…but not this marvelous depiction.

I’m not up to painting any masterpieces today. Nor do I have a dissertation in the works. However, there are several unfinished projects I need to go a step or two farther with. It sounds trite, but there’s a heck of a lot of truth in the adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” What’s something you need to reach a little farther for?


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

3 thoughts on “A Step Farther”

  1. hmm…there are things I need to finish and there are things I just haven’t started for some reason or another…thanks for the prompt.

    It was indeed a powerful story.

  2. Wow. What a tragic story. That will haunt me for a while.

    I think I want to read that book now. I had some sort of rebellious feelings about it (pop culture, stereotyping) but now I feel chastized… I should give it a try. Particularly as I’ve already read Feminine Mystique and others 🙂

    Hi Sarah. Give it a chance. It might not be as scholarly as Deborah Tannen's book, but it contains quite a few gems. I read some of the same negative reviews, but I'm glad I ignored them.

  3. Oh, that story is so painful. What a sad and lonely and frightening way to die. And tragic, unbelievably tragic.

    I love the lesson you’ve taken from this.

    It truly is painful to think of anyone dying like this...but especially someone you love.

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