To get to my home, there is a light you must go through from under a freeway bridge, where the two lanes merge into one as it takes you through the dark and narrow windy road.
I was on that road tonight, coming to the bridge where I knew the light would be green, as it always is at night. Among the two lanes, I was in the left lane and the van in front of me was going slow enough, I could have passed it from the right lane if I wanted to, barely cutting it close to the merging part of the lane….
Instead, I took my foot off the gas pedal and chose to stay behind the van. After all, passing them would only save me, what? One entire minute out of the ten minutes I had left of my journey?
It got me asking myself, “Am I really in that big of a hurry? How does everybody’s hurry compare to the next person’s rush? Who actually has the bigger rush and what are we willing to sacrifice just to get somewhere we all have to be?”
photo credit: Susan Henderson
Physiologically, the act of rushing ourselves increases our stress levels and dilates our blood vessels, which puts us into sensory overload, giving us the ‘Fight or Flight’ syndrome. With that much adrenaline in that short amount of time, our thoughts become irrational and our mood plummets entirely and we enter a state of selfish, primal instinct. That kind of mindset, if you are in a car, can put somebody in severe danger if you aren’t the kind of person who handles stress or impatience well. Are you willing to sacrifice that person’s life as well as yours by causing a car accident because you’re going way over the speed limit and driving recklessly?
Are you in such a hurry to get out of the coffee shop or the gas station to beat the morning traffic that you can’t seem to pause for the extra five seconds to hold the door open for someone else coming in or out?
Do you notice how sometimes, the more you are stressed about making it to your destination “with just not enough time” actually causes more roadblocks in your way? At this point, you must ask yourself, “Is my stress about being in a hurry going to get me to my destination safely and any faster than I would be getting there even if I was calm and possibly still in a hurry?”
If you don’t want to be in a hurry – get your day started earlier. It’s that simple.
And if you’re going to be in a hurry – don’t try, but do cultivate a sense of patience and put it to use. If you don’t want to get up any earlier and you want to always leave at the same time, and you’ve accepted the fact that maybe you’re just comfortable being in a hurry – then why are you still letting it stress you out to the point of dangerous, threatening, irrational, and illogical anger?
Wouldn’t you be your better self if you just accepted the fact that you are going to be in a hurry and make the journey fun for yourself anyway?
I sing loudly and dance freely in my car to my radio. Yeah, I’m “that guy”. I think I am THE American Idol when I am driving. I used to have massive road rage and cuss up a storm when I would hit traffic and road blocks, but I find the more I accept that the World will be the World, I turn my radio up and I sing my heart out and I allow myself to laugh – at anything. If I get frustrated, I laugh at how ridiculous it is if I let myself get upset over something I can’t control, which is actually pretty funny if you think about it. Are you actually getting upset due to something personally affecting your emotions on a deep level or are you just upset because you can’t control the way you’re reacting to the events outside of your own life and reality?
My suggestion: figure out what works best for you and start doing it immediately. And the next time you are in a hurry to get somewhere; determine the length of your rush and how much more important it is than everyone else’s. Then ask yourself how many other people around you at the moment in time are probably in their own form of hurry also. Do you think your rush is more important than theirs? Do they think their rush is more important than yours?
The best part of this all, is when you take a big deep breath and succumb to the realization that nobody’s rush is more important than anyone else’s, you will exhale and understand you’re not really in a hurry at all. You will get to wherever you have to be when you get there. And if you have a feeling you may be in rush the next morning, you’ll develop a deep love for morning sunrises.