20 August 2013

Use the Bigger Picture to get ahead in your life.

"To see what is front of one's nose needs a constant struggle". George Orwell.

I had a profound experience driving to work this morning. Running late, I was tempted to put the pedal to the metal to make up ground.  But for once, my rational side (and the fact I'm still in the honeymoon phase of enjoying my new car) meant that I kept at the speed limit and a safe distance from the car in front.

Not so for the car behind me.  The driver was hell-bent on creeping frightfully close to my car's backside.  It was unnerving, so I quickly found an opportunity to change lanes and free myself of my unwelcome road friend.

The driver then quickly sped up to get in close to the truck previously in front of me.  From the adjacent lane, I dropped back, creating a wary distance to avoid the 'accident in the making'.  Even though I was behind, my lane started pulling forward and I gained ground.

I could see my little tail-gater sitting rigid in her seat as she focused intently on the truck in front.  She appeared stressed, and rightfully so.  And sudden slowdown in the truck in front would most certainly result in a rear end collision.

I then overtook this super-cuddly driver.  And I continued to gain ground whereas the tail-gater was locked in tight behind the truck.  When the truck slowed, she had to slow, whereas I had allowed myself enough room in front to change lanes and take advantage of the shifting traffic conditions.  It didn't take long for me to leave her well behind, locked in tight behind the truck.

It hit me then that that's exactly how some people live their lives.  Locked in tightly on a path, looking straight into the barrier that's directly in front of them, with no room to move.  And without the overview of the road ahead, missing many opportunities to change lanes or direction.

Tail-gating is a dangerous sport, with any sudden changes in what's ahead causing the need to instantly brake or suffer an accident.   Being able to scan the road ahead means you can take up on other opportunities to change track or safely move around obstacles.

When you are so close to what's in front of you, you can't see the proverbial forest for the trees. And you can't make sense of what's happening around you to make intelligent decisions in the best way to progress.

Sometimes the best way forward is to slow down for a bit, create a bit of a distance between you and what's taking place around you so that you have some room to move.  And paradoxically, you may just find that you end up overtaking your former tail-gating self.

Action for today:
Pull over and Stop!

Let whatever is right in front of you clear for a moment. Even if you think things are getting away from you, it won't be for long.  Taking stock will only set you back temporarily but it will give you the space to gain some clarity about what's ahead, and some freedom to choose the right lane to move forward on.

You may well find that if you take this opportunity to look at the road map instead of fighting the traffic, you may well find an even shorter pathway than your original route.

When you set back off, give yourself some room to move.  Then, if things change suddenly in front of you, you'll still have the space and leeway to avoid disaster.

I think you'll find that your tension and potential 'road' or life-rage will also dissipate.  The journey will be more relaxing, and chances are you'll even get there faster.