Linda Arnold: Are you playing rushin’ roulette in your life?
I had a very humbling experience recently.
I was unaware 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 I 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 wake up call.
What was I thinking? Well, that’s just it. I wasn’t thinking.
A close call
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 potentially others) in harm’s way.
This was certainly not my intention, and it totally goes against my philosophy of a peaceful and balanced approach to life, as indicated by the title of this column.
What are the tradeoffs?
As a result, I’m experiencing some inner conflict, and I don’t like it. It’s true I’ve had quite a bit on my platter lately, although that’s no excuse. We’re all busy, and it doesn’t give any of us a license to hurtle through space.
When I rush around, I really don’t get that much more accomplished. And, even if I did, what has it cost me? I usually end up in a harried manner, and it takes away from my quality of life.
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 a few questions:
Do I need to juggle all these balls at once?Are there some activities I could let go - or delegate?Is it possible to get an extension on that deadline?Could I get an earlier start on that commute?How ’bout breaking that project down into bite-size 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?
Let’s face it. We all find ourselves in a rush at times. If you find this pattern is becoming more of the norm than the exception, though, you may want to examine the following questions to see if you have any deep-seated beliefs that are driving these behaviors.
Why do I have a need for speed?What’s the payoff I’m getting?Am I just rushing around and keeping my platter busy - so I can avoid the more pressing issues in my life?Do I get a rush out of the risky behavior?Am I addicted to the drama?
A major detriment to rushing around is that you could end up squelching that still, small voice within - your own internal GPS system. When you drown that out, you’re not living in the present. You’re not aware - and your life can be thrashed about at warp speed.
It’s a sign
As I look for the gift in my recent scary experience, I realize the cosmic and spiritual message of the backdrop that came with my lesson: a STOP sign. I’m definitely heeding the message.
I want to acknowledge that police officer for the courteous and professional (although firm) conduct I experienced on that recent morning. I thanked him, and we exchanged some pleasantries.
Ironically, my license plate reads “LIVE” - which is a reminder to me that this is not a dress rehearsal - and that my intention is 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!
Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and Founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at email@example.com For information on her books, go to www.lindaarnold.org or Amazon.com.