Driven by Self-Awareness
by Robin Sacks
I have not been the best driver.
I mean, I'm not a bad driver; I don't have multiple accidents and tickets outstanding. But I have been the type of driver who typically rushes and regularly goes over the speed limit (just enough not to get stopped), and throws various words and gestures at other drivers...when I think they deserve it. I will also admit that my cell phone catches my attention when driving more than it should.
I know I am not alone. However, I made a choice going into this year to shift some of my driving practices from reactive to observant.
Here are some of my mind-blowing observations so far (and we're only three weeks into the year!):
1. When you actually drive the speed limit, it is as if you are moving in slow motion. I never realized how much faster a mere 5-10 miles per hour feels. I also have noticed that, when I drive faster, my energy is way up - maybe more than it should be. That, in and of itself, creates more stress. But when I drive the speed limit, my energy calms down. That allows me to simply sit back and observe.
2. When you slow down and drive the speed limit, you get everywhere at the same time as if you had rushed and sped! This is amazing to me. The speed limit allows me to catch green lights instead of red lights. I can;t explain how or why it works, it just does. It seems like there is a flow that is in alignment with the universe or something. While the idiots (the people like I used to be) speed up and stop and speed up and stop and speed up and stop, I now simply cruise without having to hit my brakes constantly. Not only is that, again, wonderfully calming, but it also will ultimately save me from having to buy brake pads so soon! (Bonus!) Lesson learned - driving faster does not get you to places faster. (Mind Blown!) That segues into my next observation.
3. When you choose to leave a few minutes earlier, you do not feel any of the need to rush anyway. As part of being more relaxed in the car, I had to adjust my timing at home. By planning just a little better (for example, put everyone's stuff together the night before instead of in the morning), there is no need to feel rushed in the first place. When we feel rushed and get into the car, we take that feeling with us and it is reflected in our driving. However, when we are more relaxed when we get into the car, THAT is reflected in our driving. By simply planning a bit better, that stress was never taken into the car with me and it automatically made me a better, more relaxed driver.
4. All of those people driving like I used to drive look like absolutely self-centered, out of control morons! Wow...talk about self-awareness. There is nothing more eye-opening to jolt you into reality than when you have an opportunity to see your bad behaviors in other people. By choosing to be more calm in the car, other people's actions and reactions seem so unnecessary, energy draining, and even over the top. For example, if someone pulls out in front of you, you can CHOOSE to react like they just threatened your life or you can CHOOSE to hit your brakes for a moment and go on with your day. Same situation, big difference in how you choose to respond to it. Or, if someone is actually going the speed limit, you can CHOOSE to get right up on their bumper (because that's going to get them to speed, you moron...lol!) or you can CHOOSE to get off their ass and drive the speed limit for ten seconds of your life and get over yourself. They are not doing anything wrong...you are. So, get off their case.
A little self-awareness goes a long way.
Think of an area in your life where you can admit that you are a bit more volatile than others seem to be. Practice some observation. Sit back and take a look at those people who seem to handle it better than you. What are they doing differently? What are they NOT doing? Pick one of the things that does not serve you and change it. Don't overthink it, just do one thing differently.
Observation and application can change your results quickly.