This may be a different way to begin a post than I normally do, but I will admit that I am not the most patient driver. In fact, if I’m being honest, I will say that I am rather nasty. I have many pet peeves when I drive. I don’t drive very fast, but I get frustrated easily when people drive under the speed limit unnecessarily, or I get angry at those who don’t use their turn signals. Others annoy me because they are simply clueless on the roads.
Now, I am not painting a very positive picture of myself so I’m going to quit while I’m behind. It always surprises people when I share about how impatient and inconsiderate I am on the road. Most that know me well would tell you that I am one of the most mild-mannered, patient, kind, and sympathetic individuals on the planet. In fact, some even criticize how far I will go just to avoid a conflict. Perhaps it’s because I learned to drive while living on Long Island (one of the most difficult places to drive), but for whatever reason, driving is the only time I behave so poorly.
I share this with you because my negative driving habits came to light this past week. We added another (and last) daughter to our auto insurance policy. In order to keep costs down, we are offered discounts for enrolling in an online defensive driving course. I spent the day on the computer and actually enjoyed this excellent course. It was also a major wake-up call. I realized that my bad attitude and corresponding bad driving habits like illegal passes, balancing all kinds of foods with the steering wheel, and spending more time checking what’s on the radio than what’s in front of me were not only dangerous to me, but also to those around me. I realized I needed to change these negative habits. I decided that I was immediately going to become more courteous and more focused when I drove. In fact, I was going to take it a step further. Not only was I going to be courteous. I was going to be the most courteous driver on the road!
After being such a nasty driver for so long, and having enough experience to know how life works, I expected immediate tests to my patience. I was curious to see how long this new attitude would actually last. For the first few days, I held my end of the bargain (even though my end was the only end). However, as the days went on, there were no tests! No slow drivers or series of red lights to test my patience. Everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing. Traffic was flowing smoothly every time. Drivers were even being extra courteous to me! Even the weather cooperated. On the first day after the test, it snowed for most of the day… except for the times I drove that day!
I’ve written countless articles on this site about how the circumstances in our lives reflect the quality of focus on our thoughts. If we focus on positive thoughts, we generally experience positive outcomes. Of course, the same correlation is true for negative thoughts. I’ve seen many examples of this in my life. However, this experience has been a very powerful reminder. I realized that, even though it was on a subconscious level, every time I got into the car, I expected negative situations, that I ultimately encountered. Now, as my focus and attitude changed, I stopped encountering these negative circumstances. Driving was actually a joy. And this change occurred instantly!
I share this reminder with you, my cherished reader. Be conscious of your thoughts. Continually watch what you focus your thoughts on. If the circumstances in a particular situation are not as you would like them to be, I challenge you to change your focus. Instead of thinking about what’s wrong or what you don’t have, focus instead on what is already right and good, or at least what could be positive about it. I find this very encouraging because this strategy puts us in full control. We may not be able to control some or all of the circumstances around us, but we can all control our thoughts and attitudes which have the ultimate effect on how the circumstances turn out. Your results may not be as immediate as they were in my situation, but in most cases changes occur very quickly.
Once again I remind you that you will experience in life whatever you focus your thoughts on. If you constantly see the negative in people and things, that’s what you will continue to experience. If you see the good in people in things, you will only experience more of it. In addition, as they did with my new driving attitude, the negative situations will eventually diminish if you keep focused on the positive. Not everything is always going to go our way, and I’m not saying you’re wrong if you’re not happy every minute of the day. However, I have learned from many experiences (and now this recent one) that good things happen when you look for them. Enjoy the blessings 🙂