Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Driving Lessons 1: Seeing the Bigger Picture

Often we find fault or blame the driver in front of us on the general traffic condition. How many times have we caught ourselves saying, “Oh why is he going so slow?” of the driver ahead who seems to be on a sightseeing tour rather than rushing his way to the office like us who are now running late? Many times we may even say, “Dumb guy” or “Stupid driver” if the car before us suddenly stops when the traffic is clearly on go; or simply how he seems to be going backwards instead of forwards. Surprisingly enough, when we let our vision include the other motorists, we find that often it is not even the guy in front of us who is at fault and realize the cause for him slowing down or suddenly stopping.

In life, we often blame those who are directly connected to us for the many faults and wrongs that we see or experience in our lives. My husband’s not as ambitious or driven, my son doesn’t seem motivated, my mother is too critical of everyone; my best friend seems to be avoiding me. On and on our personal diatribes go as we find our nearest and dearest to blame. Yet if we only take time to see clearly, we may discover that hubby may be working as hard but opportunities may not be available for advancement in his current workplace, son may be going through self discovery phase and is more concerned with self than school and needs guidance, mother is only concerned that everyone is doing well and best friend is going through a personal crisis that we should help rather than feel alienated.

Interestingly, it is when we change lanes that we see the bigger picture of what’s going on ahead. Perhaps in life, it is not bad to change points of view once in a while to see other versions and arguments and possibilities. I’d like to think that I’m fairly open-minded and do play devil’s advocate to myself once in a while, just to see how the other sides feel or think or react. And it can be applied to anything. How would my son or daughter feel like if I told them to do this? What would my husband say to this? If I were my mother, how would I feel if I did this? Would my best friend mind if I told her this?

Who we are can be reflected in how we deal with those around us. A driver who always consider other drivers as dumb or stupid by the way they drive and never once thought about how he himself is driving is a classic example of the egoistic person who finds fault in everything and everyone but himself – the center of the universe. This guy would cut you off the road and smirk that he got away with it smugly but would be the first to honk and get upset when someone else cuts him. He would be the one who’ll change lanes, not to see what’s going on up ahead but to merely get ahead of everyone else. He’s be the one who’ll speed up when you are signaling to change lanes so that he goes ahead of you instead of letting you pass. Sadly, many people are like this driver in life and on the road.

But we can change. We can get better.

So next time you feel like cursing the guy in front of you for being too slow or when you feel the need to honk that horn, try to see the bigger picture first. Put yourself in the shoes of that person before you make your judgment. Try a different point of view and see how it suits you. Perhaps the solution is found within. Perhaps it’s time for you to do some self evaluation on how you drive be it on the road or in life.

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