LESSONS FROM LIFE
One day, as I was driving across town, a traffic light just ahead of me turned red (don’t they always?) and I stopped at the intersection.
As I sat there, two men approached the crosswalk. One glanced up and around, at the lights and at the cars, read correctly the signs indicating that he could cross in safety, and strode confidentally across. The other, who had been beside him, stepped off the sidewalk, looked anxiously at the waiting cars, up at the lights, then at the cars, stepped back onto the sidewalk, looked around worriedly, and remained where he was. Eventually the lights changed, and as they turned a third man strode up, glanced at neither the cars nor the lights, and stepped confidently into the road. At the last moment, he realized that the cars had started to move, and leaped back to safety.
In this briefest of vignettes I saw one of those ubiquitous divisions of people and how they interact with life’s signs and signals.
The first seemed to be one of those who take the time to read life’s signals carefully and accurately. They know where to look, and what is significant. With that awareness, they do not need to question when it is or is not appropriate to take action.
Others may be aware of the signals but seem unable to decipher their meaning. They have little confidence in their ability to respond appropriately. They waste their time fearfully vacillating between action and inaction, missing opportunities and making little or no progress toward their goals – if they have them. Perhaps they eventually get where they are going, but not necessarily as speedily or as safely as they might have wished.
Then there are those who are determined to go their own way regardless of life’s signals or rules. They may endanger themselves and their progress. They often cause problems for others as they clash with whatever else is going on. They do not take the time to consider their environment or the consequences of action before striding forward. In this case, disaster was averted but that does not always happen.
Which way do you tend to be? Is that by choice? If not, what might you need to do to change?
(As a coach who focuses on decision-making, perhaps I can help. I offer everyone a 40 minute phone consultation – see the Contact page to get in touch with me.)