I had a very humbling experience last week. I wasn’t paying attention while driving and ended up practically running a stop sign – yikes!
To be honest, it wasn’t even a “rolling stop.” I was rushing to get somewhere and wasn’t paying enough attention to what was really important.
Fortunately, I was stopped by a police officer; and I credit the experience – and that officer – for a major wakeup call. What was I thinking? Well, that’s just it. I wasn’t thinking.
The officer told me about a truck with a trailer that was making its way into the same intersection at the same time. I didn’t see it. Apparently, though, we were seconds away from each other.
As I reflected on the experience, I found myself wondering why I was in such a hurry. And the term “rushin’ roulette” came to me. By rushing around, I’d actually put myself (and potential others) in harm’s way.
Although this is certainly not my intention, I find it’s happening more frequently to me lately; and it totally goes against my philosophy of a peaceful and balanced approach to life (as well as the title of this column!)
Being Busy — Not an Excuse
As a result, I’m experiencing some inner conflict, and I don’t like it. It’s true that I’ve had quite a bit on my platter lately, but that’s no excuse. All of us are busy, and it doesn’t give any of us a license to hurtle through space.
While we all go through phases that require us to “step up our game” and juggle lots of things from time to time, it’s when this behavior becomes the norm (rather than the exception) that it becomes dangerous.
When we rush around, we really don’t get that much more accomplished. And – even if we do – what does it cost us? We often show up in a frazzled manner; and it takes away from our quality of life (not to mention those around us that have to witness this sense of frenzy).
Why Do You Rush Around?
In the long run, rushing around can even lead to greater stress in our lives, increased health problems and compromised relationships. So, if you find yourself in this state more and more often, take a step back and ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I need to juggle all these balls at once?
- Are there some activities I could let go of – or delegate?
- Could I get an earlier start on that commute?
- How ‘bout breaking that project down into bite-sized chunks?
- If I swap tonight’s social activity for a hot bath and an early bedtime, will that make me more peaceful and productive tomorrow?
- Is it possible to get an extension on that deadline?
- What are some other way I can get more “bandwidth” into my life?
Just a few things to ponder. These fall more into the practical realm. And then there are the deep-seated behaviors that come with questions like:
- Why do I have a need for speed?
- What’s the payoff I’m getting?
- Am I just rushing around – keeping my platter busy – so I can
avoid the more pressing issues in my life?
- Am I addicted to the drama?
- Do I get a rush out of the risky behavior?
Your Internal GPS System
Perhaps the biggest detriment to rushing around is that you’re squelching that still, small voice within — your own internal GPS system.
When you drown it out, you’re not living in the present. You’re not aware – and your life is thrashed about at warp speed. Beam me down, Scotty!
As I look for the gift in that harrowing experience last week, I realize the cosmic and spiritual message of the backdrop that came with my lesson: a STOP sign.
Ironically, my license plate reads “LIVE” (which is a reminder to me that this isn’t a dress rehearsal — and that I need to “live life fully.”) The officer warned me that if I didn’t slow down I may need to change my license plate!
Believe me, I’ve heeded the call. I’m keeping my license plate. No more Rushin’ Roulette for me.