My Know-It-All Backseat Driver

My Know-It-All Backseat Driver

I have recently noticed how my self-awareness incessantly surpasses my self-control.

Physically, this is evidenced by the perpetual superiority of my proprioceptive sense over my motor control.

When typing, I instantly know when my fingers have strayed. I will err, delete several characters, and retype them correctly, all whilst keeping my visual and mental focus on the passage that I am transcribing from.

When bowling, throwing a baseball, hitting a volleyball, or performing countless other physical tasks that require great precision, I am able to ascertain their success or failure with a high degree of accuracy simply by being aware of how they felt, before ever viewing the result of my actions.

This same disconnect between passive awareness and active capability is also present in purely cerebral undertakings.

When playing fast paced games of complex strategy I have lost count of the times where I have made a move even as I know it will get me into trouble. Similarly, in conversations I am often cognizant of any verbal blunders before ever seeing the reactions they provoke. It’s as if there is a smarter ME lounging around in my brain, languidly observing my actions and critiquing them with cruel precision, yet never deigning to come forward and take the reins.

As with many backseat drivers, I wish I could simply throw up my hands and shout “Fine, YOU do it!”

I bet he gets along quite well with my procrastination monkey.

What is the practical result of all this rumination?

Any time I notice my backseat driver being particularly know-it-all I try to pause, think, and analyze the situation. What subtle cues were there that lead to an unconscious realization ahead of my conscious awareness? And can I make a note of them and learn to recognize them in the future in time to incorporate that recognition into my decision making process?