eight lanes of human behaviour

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Sixteen lanes of human madness. Eight lane highways, thrusting themselves across the city, carrying life, human life, on their personal journeys. That’s what driving in Los Angeles introduces you to. Each vehicle driven; each driven differently, each by a different human being. And as cars move around me, I wonder about etiquette and behaviour on the motorway and how it matches our personal life view?

How do you travel life’s highway? And how does this reflect on your interaction and awareness of other human beings? What does it say about who you are?

Do you stay in your ‘usual’ lane, resolute in your direction and journey, if somewhat oblivious to those fellow human beings around you? You are in your lane, your space, your world. It’s all about you. If anyone else wants to get by, that’s their problem. Life’s a daydream.

Do you tailgate others, keen to get past, to speed on your way, to dominate the road? Do you pressure them, unnerve them, drive them out of your way? The horn works. Maybe you’re loud too? Does aggression and pressure show up in your life?

Do you change lanes without warning? No indication given. Expecting others to second guess your direction and take appropriate avoiding action? Are you unpredictable? Do you have a mind of your own, which others must simply adjust to, if they are to avoid a collision?

Do you undertake? Breaking rules to get ahead? Surprise people by coming up on the inside track? Take advantage of the spaces left by the ‘my lane’ drivers? You’ll get ahead, whatever the consequences, whatever rules need to be broken. You’re a winner, come what may.

Do you attend to other matters whilst driving? Text, call, make-up, shave? Are you easily distracted in life? Multitasking, you might call it. But perhaps struggling to focus might be a criticism from others? Trying to do too much? Often behind. Often overworked. Always seeking to catch up with the outstanding tasks? “Ooh look… a peanut in the glovebox from last week.”

Do you switch lanes regularly? Seeking an advantage over others when the going is slow or sticky? Attempting to outwit your fellow travellers; rejoicing perhaps in the small gains made? You can sniff an opportunity. One-upmanship perhaps a guiding quality.

Maybe you drive with your lights full beam? You need to see far ahead; see what the journey brings. Your desire to do so though, blinds others on life’s highway. They are left dazzled as you come up behind them, or dazzled as you charge towards them. The vision matters more to you than their ability to see it.

Or do you steadfastly follow the rules? Driving always within the law? Driving safely and without risk? Driving within your means? Measured. Predictable. Safe. Courteous to other road users, but often overlooked, missed, unnoticed.

Maybe it’s time to change your driving habits? Not just in the car.

where does it all lead?

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The early morning sky today reveals the past. Journeys taken by airplanes, one after another, thrusting their way to a common destination. The trails remain, for a while, then dissipate, lost into the passage of time.

I wonder if we have trails too? Human trails of being? Invisible to others, often invisible to us. Trails which reflect a path we have journeyed; a choice we made, a decision we took, a thought we encountered.

Maybe the paths, like airplane trails, fade quickly? So quickly we don’t see them overlaid, repeated. We lose sight of the flight paths previously flown. The recurring patterns of thought, behaviour, choice… The fact that they might follow a similar route, that they might point to a common destination, is lost to us. But if they did linger, maybe we could see their purpose? Their intent? Their focus?

Maybe then we would know what silent beacon calls them?

These human trails of being.

 

once upon a time…

illuminateddandelion.com

We love stories.

Not just stories told in books, or on film, or in conversation. We love our stories about ourselves.

We don’t speak them out loud often. We don’t act them out on stage or on screen. We don’t share them with the world, in our workplace or at home. Rather we tell them to ourselves. Quietly. So quietly they are merely whispers. To those around us, these stories have no discernible words, no beautifully drawn pictures to admire, no compelling narrative to hook our attention, no plot, no beginning or end.

Instead the stories play out in our thinking, in how we behave, in how we are in the world. They show up in what is possible and what limits us. They control us. They become a self fulfilling prophecy. We become the actor, the main character in our pastiche of ourselves.

And we run our stories over and over. Day in day out. Week in week out. Inside.

Your past is just a story…
and once you realise this, it has no power over you

Chuck Palahniuk

What we need is freedom from the story of our past.
Freedom to write a new story of our future.

not what, but how

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When you choose the behaviour, you choose the consequences

All too often we focus on the end game. The result. The success. The failure. The implications. The achievement. The gain. The outcome. The goal. The consequences.

How we get there though, colours the outcome. It is the ‘how’ that people notice and the ‘how’ that people remember. It is the ‘how’ that affirms alignment to our values.

is it off?

I wonder sometimes how far away we are from the office dying?

I don’t mean my office specifically. I mean the concept and the physical manifestation.

Huge swathes of land used to hold them. Resources expended through their sustenance, upkeep and running. They form visual blots on our landscape; splatterings of glass and concrete across our towns and cities.

Millions of us still travel to the office.  We walk, drive, cycle, commute. Time is lost, travelling. Pollution generated and scarce resources lost, through travelling.

When we arrive we sit in a box, or at a desk and we type and talk. We respond to emails, fill in forms, write presentations and papers. We sit in meetings, we talk in groups, we phone people. For many, the majority of the day is spent more engaged with a keyboard and display than with another human being.

Yet still we come.

Still we come to a physical building miles from where we live to sit with others who also come. Why?

Is this just a hypnotic pattern we succumbed to in past decades? A trance-like manoeuvre we replicate without thought? A pattern so ridiculous, yet so intoxicating, that we cannot see beyond it?

Many have seen the light. They work from home.  Some play with the light; they work from home on Friday.  Some tease the light; they come to the office, but continue working when they get home.

Some say they come for the interaction. To meet people. I wonder what future for this? The other day I heard someone say to their neighbour “I just sent you an email.” They didn’t then have the conversation. Alerting the recipient to the message seemed to suffice.

Nowadays technology either can, or is close to being able to, replicate our ability to perform all these office tasks from anywhere. Social media heralds a new way. We can already share screens, documents, hold chats, share video, see each other via Skype or Facetime. Virtual reality, an imminent reality.

So will the office die? Is the office off? Will it fade away as a construct of the 20th century, lost to the annals of history like cave dwelling or the medieval neck ruff?

Maybe we will convert them all to care homes for the elderly?  Or to shelters for the homeless?

 

 

here’s the scenario…

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Top deck of a London bus.

Man comes upstairs and moves to sit next to another man in front seat. Seated man looks up at new passenger who is requesting he move his bag. Seated man looks over shoulder. Behind him there are only six other passengers on the top deck. Seated man looks incredulously at new passenger. “Really?” can be heard.  New passenger, now sitting, asks already seated man, if he wants him to sit at the back?  Already seated man mutters inaudible. Newly seated man shuffles closer, settles down and opens his newspaper. Already seated man stares at cheek of newly seated man like he’s trying to burn through his face with just the power of his stare.

We’re funny sometimes aren’t we? People.

trapped in a void, with a pending yogurt imperative

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Our office has access control. We carry cards which we touch against pads to open doors from corridors, stairwells and lifts. Public areas in effect. Mostly we carry these cards on lanyards around our necks.

This morning I was in early to do a ‘breakfast briefing’ – you know, describing what a sausage is. 😄 Language makes me laugh sometimes. Anyhow, I digress.

My porridge instruction was to be on one floor, my office on another. I carried some materials, a cup of tea and various facilitation aids up to the room my croissant warming was to take place in.  I left everything on a table and set off back to the office to print something.

On the stairs, a realisation dawned. My lanyard and access card were on the table. I was trapped in the stairwell. A humanless void between the areas of work. I was alone. Caught in the connecting arteries of office life.

I knocked on a door and peered helplessly through the narrow glass slit on one side. It was early though. Few people were around. My tapping went unanswered. Suddenly I heard the ping of the lift arriving two floors up. In sad desperation I bounded up the stairs hoping to meet someone I could beg to grant me escape from the void. I arrived just in time to hear the click of the door, closing, as they had already entered the human space, leaving me in the soulless vacuum. I trudged back down to my tapping door.

I smiled at my ridiculous situation and my preposterous attempts to escape the void. Why is there nobody around to save me? How will my willing breakfast briefers ever discover good yogurt to fruit compote ratios?

The lift on a floor above pinged again.  I turned and took several steps before ruling out another fruitless jaunt upstairs. Peering through my tapping door once more I finally saw my rescuer. An internal passer-by responded and freed me from my humanless void.

Nobody starved. Breakfast briefing was restored.

My moments alone though, trapped in contactless oblivion were curious. My panic, my irrational behaviour, my helplessness, my sense of isolation.