As I slowly crept along the interstate one day last week, the sign above the road caught my attention. I have written about impatience with my commute previously, but on this day the sign warning of an incident ahead took on a deeper meaning.
Thoughts flashed across my mind, and I was struck with the sensation that we all have incidents ahead in life. These unexpected events may be blips on the radar and minor irritations, or they may turn out to be something very large and time-consuming. As much as we try to take the unpredictability out of life, we inevitably come up against circumstances out of our control.
My tendency is to reflexively look at the incident that arises in my path as a bad thing. Is it really? Perhaps this is short-sighted. It is my conviction that something positive can be gleaned out of all that happens to us in life. Here are some thoughts to consider next time you observe an incident on the highway of life.
- Avoid rubbernecking. Humans have a tendency to want to gaze at other people’s problems. Delays happen on the interstate when people focus on an incident instead of focusing on driving. If we can stay locked-in to our lane and avoid comparing our situation to someone else’s, we can minimize our delay in moving forward.
- Maybe the fast lane is not the best place to be. The speed at which we zip through life can cause areas which need improvement to be lost in a blur. When something happens on the interstate, it causes traffic to slow down and sometimes lanes get closed. Decreasing our speed will give us more reaction time to avoid impediments and allow us to see more clearly the world around us. Changing lanes in life can broaden our perspective and may lead to more promising destinations.
- Be thankful to avoid being involved in an incident – but learn from it. When we observe an accident on the highway, we may feel a sense of relief that it was not us involved. But let us not stop with this feeling. If we see someone going through a difficult season, perhaps we can glean wisdom from their situation. Learning from other’s experiences can be valuable and help us to avoid having to learn lessons ourselves (the hard way!).
- Everything speeds up again once the event clears up. After navigating past an incident on the highway, everyone speeds up again and traffic returns to normal. The same is true of life. Once we get past a difficult season, our life settles into a new rhythm. Time provides perspective that can help give clarity of thought. The events in the rear-view mirror can remind us of what has happened before, but a successful journey requires that we look forward.
While incidents in life are inevitable, our responses to them can change. In fact, the choice we make in our response is key. Choosing a positive attitude and outlook on the future will give us an advantage in confronting whatever it is that we have to overcome. Hopefully, the thoughts above will be useful for navigating past the incidents ahead.
Question: What wisdom do you have to navigate difficulties along the highway of life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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