Identify. Predict. Decide. Execute.Posted: December 9, 2011
Decades after learning it, I still apply one particular piece of my high school curriculum every day. I apply it without a second thought. It has yet to fail me. When I realize it has worked once again, I think four letters… I P D E.
I learned the lesson of IPDE from a teacher who was a legend in my high school. He took his job seriously, but was probably better known for his propensity for falling asleep. Falling asleep at the drop of a hat might be considered a handicap for a driver’s education teacher.
Sleepy Wasn’t Just A Disney Character
There were two drivers ed teachers at my high school. One, it was said, married a former student as soon as she turned 18. My teacher, the narcoleptic one, was a middle-aged man, who presumably married within his age group. He did not seem to have an issue staying awake while presenting a lesson in front of the class. His problem cropped up in two places – when the lights were out in the classroom for a film and when he was in the passenger seat of a car.
Drivers education in my school in the late 70′s involved a lot of films. We saw most of them in the “simulator room”. In the simulator room, we would sit in car seats with the dashboard of a car in front of us. These dashboards had everything you’d find in a car – steering wheel, gas and brake pedals and a speedometer. The teacher would show a film on the screen in front of us and ask us to “drive” through the film.
What would actually happen was that the teacher would put on the film and fall asleep. Since there was no connection between how far down we pressed the gas pedal and how fast the film would go, some of us would “drive” at 100 mph, some at 5 mph. This would go on until the film ran out or the teacher woke and would chastise one of the “speeders”.
We all dreamed that some day we would see him drift off to sleep in the car. Legend had it that one day in the past, this teacher had taken some students out on the Washington Beltway for their Interstate Highway driving practice, then fallen fast asleep. He did not wake until he and his students were in Baltimore, a ninety minute drive from my home town. Apparently having to account for that sort of thing once in your career helps keep one a little more alert for the remainder. None of us were able to lull him off to sleep in the car.
Wasn’t This About IPDE?
Despite his intense need for sleep, this man got IPDE so far into my cranium that it is the one thing from high school I am certain I can repeat, verbatim. I don’t know how to calculate the length of a hypotenuse. The Italian pluperfect tense still eludes me. I look at the keyboard when I type. But I know that IPDE stands for Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute.
Sleepy taught me that, when driving, I should look ahead to Identify hazards. Once a hazard was spotted, I should Predict what the hazard might do to affect me. Next, I should Decide what I should do about it and Execute the plan I decided on to keep myself from coming to harm. It works. I have not crashed into anything in decades. I don’t give a damn about your hypotenuse. I’ve got IPDE.
IPDE is so successful that I have considered applying it elsewhere in my life. I will roam the earth, watching people and identifying those who I predict mean me harm. I will then decide what to do about what I think they’ll do and execute that decision.
When I apply IPDE outside of driving, I am sure people will say things like “Omawarisan attacked me for no reason”. To some, the plans I’ll execute to avoid the harm I predict they’ll cause might seem random and excessive. I hope that I can count on all of you to speak up on my behalf. Tell those people I did not attack them for no reason, I attacked them for reasons they do not understand. You all know that I don’t just lash out at people, right?