Turn Right To Go Left

by Ray Reuter on October 8, 2015

Turn right to go left

The following dialogue takes place in the movie, CARS, which gets quite a bit of air time with the grandkids. I always try to catch this scene between Doc and Lightning …

Doc Hudson: I’ll put it simple: if you’re going hard enough left, you’ll find yourself turning right.

Lightning McQueen: Oh, right. That makes perfect sense. Turn right to go left. Yes, thank you! Or should I say No, thank you, because in Opposite World, maybe that really means thank you.

Wise old Doc Hudson suggests something to young impulsive Lightning McQueen that does not make any sense. Do the opposite of what you want — hard enough and with plenty of faith — and you will get what you want. Huh?!

When I reflect on this, the following concepts flood my head … FORGIVENESS, TRUST, FAITH, SURRENDER, HUMILITY, SERVICE, RECONCILIATION, MEEKNESS, OBEDIENCE, REST. These concepts are “left turns” that turn out “right” in the context of a big picture perspective. I put myself in the driver’s seat with Lightning McQueen and realize that from that perspective, turning in the opposite direction of where I want to go is really scary — it takes complete faith and being “all in” to turn the wheel the opposite direction. Yet from the top of the cliff (you know this scene if you have watched the movie), it all magically comes together and works! I go all-in left, and find myself turning right. If I keep insisting on turning left and doing it “my way” … I crash and wreck.

Take a look inside … where might you and I be continuing to resist turning left to go right and finding ourselves in the ditch. Then consider going hard enough in the opposite direction and see what happens!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Derp Stevens October 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

You have completely misinterpreted this. Wow.

What Doc told McQueen was an actual rally racing technique, not a deep metaphorical quote. The technique is called the Scandinavian Flick, and it is when you find yourself with low grip in the rear tires in a corner. Since you can’t turn normally because the car will overrotate in that direction, you must turn in that direction in the beginning and compensate by immediately rotating the steering wheel in the other direction. This will cause the car to turn properly, albeit drifting, sending out smoke, spraying dirt everywhere, and generally destroying the tires. It’s fun to do and watch, though, as the car’s rear end will flick out very fast.


James February 25, 2020 at 3:13 pm

I think you are missing the writers point. He took something simple and a dirt racing example and showed how it can work in our lives. Not that Doc is actually subconsciously telling us anything, but you can take the example of what works in racing, and apply it practically in your own life. I love the example, as I was actually just thinking about this as I was writing a communion message. lol.


Lucien Renny Large July 11, 2021 at 11:56 am

I think the first one was in surmountable in depth. I fully respect it, and I believe that whoever wrote it was correct. True it is a racing skill for drifting. Nonetheless I believe it can apply to life as well, take the road less traveled on. We’re all meant to drive to the speed of our own engine, not to the speed society gives us, every being is meant to run or drive free, with the Spirit of an untamed wild west mustang, be brave, humble, devoted, respectable, and love like that is all you know. Learn from what is behind you as Teddy Roosevelt once said: “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future” :it’s the way of experience, mistakes, adversity, go through it, grow from it, become stronger because of it.
There is a poem by a African American poet named Phillis Wheatley: “In every human breast, god has implanted a principal which we call love of freedom, it is impatient of oppression and pants for deliverince” :And I believe that still applies today, do the right thing and you will in due time be rewarded. Truth, Humility, Courage, are all the virtues of life, and it is a road worth following.
It is not the easiest road, but it is by far the most satisfying and the views are the most magnificent, and the rewards are unrivaled. If there be a problem, this road will solve it, if there is a question, this road will guide you to the answer, and as a fact, turn right to go left, is as established as the very universe itself.
It’s no different than what you kid, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” or “Sometimes you gotta back up to go forwards” and it I think the same thing can apply to what Doc Hudson and all of radiator springs taught Lightning McQueen; Now yeah it’s old school, but wise…. A universal wisdom that has proven essential to life be it in one way or the other, and has proven it every single day since the dawn of time.


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