(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
Coasting is a useful activity. You are coasting when you’re making progress, relative to your environment, without effort. Your progress is the result of previously established momentum and direction.
Times you may want to coast are when you need to use your attention and energy to access your situation, when you’re not sure of your next action, or when building up reserves. Top performing sports people know when to push and when to conserve their energy. Coasting is a useful part of a winning strategy.
Drifting may look somewhat like coasting, but drifting occurs when there is no progress, relative to your environment. You may be moving, like a leaf floating on a lake, but there is no outcome, no plan, no direction.
People who don’t know what they want and are at the whim of outside forces tend to drift. People who know who they are and what they want can easily know when to coast.
Copyright 2000 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.