Thought provoking quotes, philosophies, photos and more
As a non-profit, community mental health counselor I frequently find myself working with individuals who come to me complaining about the chaos in their lives. They complain about the problems within their relationships, the struggles they are having at work, the annoying people they encountered at the restaurant during lunch, and the car accident they got into on their way home last night. After listening to their stories I usually find myself asking “what was your part in that interaction?”. As expected, my clients typically look back at me puzzled- wondering if I was just listening to their story, listening to how they just explained that the other person was at fault. I then begin to describe a scenario which a wise colleague of mine often presents:
Imagine yourself driving home after a long day at work. You know, that feeling of fatigue from using your brain (or body) all day yet excitement for something different. You are now off the clock, free to relax. Maybe you are going home to a family dinner or going to pick your children up from soccer practice. Maybe you are running off to the gym or to get ready for a blind-date. Whatever your plans are, your desire is to just get home. As you approach your typical on-ramp where three different lanes are merging you notice the person to your right is not slowing down. Now clearly you have the right-of-way. Clearly the bumper of your car is six inches ahead of theirs. And clearly, they need to yield. You look forward and see that there is only about twenty feet until the lanes are completely merged. One more glance to your right proves that the car is not planning on slowing down. You become a little worried about what possible outcomes you could expect. You become increasingly angry that the person next to you is not doing what they are supposed to. They are not yielding to you, the car on the left, the bigger car that is six inches in front of theirs. You start thinking that maybe you have to teach this person a lesson. Teach them that they need to follow the rules of the road. And now, at this very moment, you have a choice to make. Do you plow ahead, full speed, risking a car accident (knowing that you have the right of way), or do you slow down and let the other car pass?
Well, the decision is yours… And in this moment, I encourage you to remember… what was your original goal? If you can remember that your goal was to safely get home as soon as possible then you would most likely choose to slow down and let the person pass. If your goal became lost in your anger and your desire to “teach that person a lesson” then, quite possibly, you chose to forge ahead and take what was yours. If you picked option one, then I can guarantee you got home safely. If your goal became shadowed by your emotions then I can assure you your decisions and behaviors have led to a car accident; they have led to more wasted time and, now, more wasted money.
This is a common dilemma in people’s lives. How they choose to handle situations directly impact their future outcomes. If your goal is to have a good day then I encourage you to not sweat the small stuff. If your goal is to have good working relationships then I encourage you to treat your coworkers with professionalism and respect. If you want to stay relaxed then I recommend you breathe deeply and not get upset about insignificant things. Despite wanting to defend every little remark or action that harms your ego, I encourage you to weight the pros and cons. Do not allow yourself to be walked over and do not create chaos and pain where it does not need to be. Instead, remember what your goals are and act accordingly. Keep your goals in view, ignore the distractions, and take the paths that lead you to your desires.