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.

just lie down here and the pain will go away

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Why do we push ourselves even when we want to give up?

There appears to be an inner battle at play. That part feeling the pain, wanting to concede and that part that doesn’t want to be beaten, wanting to succeed.

I rode a bike yesterday, for the first time in fifteen years. Around Montreal. I guess if you’re going to start again after fifteen years there are worse places to begin. The ride took us along the Lanchine canal, followed the north bank of the St Lawrence river for six kilometres, then cut across in land, via a cute little cafe with Italian Ciabatta to die for. Once replete, we headed back along the remainder of the canal before heading to the island of Parc Jean-Drapeau where we rode our bikes around the Gilles Villeneuve F1 track before returning to our starting point. Around 50 kilometres or 30 miles.

From the moment we began the ride out to the Parc and F1 track, I knew my body had had enough. My thighs screamed stop. The sun burned down on my face and neck as we crossed the Pont de la Concorde. I was done. But the lure of saying I’d ridden around a Formula 1 race circuit kept me going.

The return journey though was another matter. My prize had been won and that part of me feeling the pain was now winning too. I dawdled back across the bridge. The slight incline up really proving hard, as my legs screamed out with every turn of the pedals. My hands were now numb too, from over gripping the handle bars as my legs struggled – somehow holding on for dear life appeased my lower limbs. The final kilometre saw me stop several times and push the bike. Even walking proved hard as my legs were like jelly and walking in a straight line seemed beyond me. My arm had developed an uncontrollable twitch and my thumb, without my say so, wriggled about like a worm in the sunshine, seeking the solace of damp and dark. But I had to return the hire bike, so the part driving me on kept going. I was also with my daughter and couldn’t let her down, so I kept going.

The battle between these parts of me was a fight to the end. “Just lie down on the grass and the pain will ease.” versus “You can’t give up now you’ve come this far. Think how good you will feel having cycled 50 kilometres on your first bike ride for fifteen years.”

And I did.

Feel good.

But tomorrow is another day… Ouch.

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.

you’re not…

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You’re not the mistake you made.
You’re not the failure of your most recent project.
You’re not the loss of your job.
You’re not that indulgence you should have resisted.
You’re not the disappointment at not having come first.
You’re not that missed deadline or average result.

You’re not your success, your fame, your glowing reputation, either.

You’re not the letters after your name, your job title, your exam results, your qualifications, your place in the organisational hierarchy.

You’re not your bank balance, your debt, your smart suit, that designer frock, your car, your house.

You’re not your ability, or your disability.
You’re not your weight, your muscles, your illness, that blemish.
You’re not your happiness, your sadness, your rage, your shame, your dream.

How could you be any of these, given that any of them are liable to change at any time?

Any of them.

These things are all a blink in the timeline of your life.

It’s a huge misunderstanding of what humans being are, and one that your inner critic can go wild upon. That voice can be demanding that you fix, or change, or hide, or be ashamed of these things.  Or that you hold on ever so tight to what you’ve got, for fear of losing it, and what it represents.

You are not your circumstance.

Perhaps there is a new kind of freedom you can find from knowing this? A new kind of acceptance of the transience of the world, and a new recognition of your own strength and constancy, a new discovery of your essence, your soul… a new kind of hope.

image by: GranitKrasniqi – deviantart.com