Thinking Instead of Reacting Can Make All the Difference

   
 
   I remember the quote from Helen Keller that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”  Why is life for some a daring adventure, mediocre or unsurmountable for others?
 
Why for some is life full of anger, others boring and still others always a half full glass?  Could it be as simple as a conscious choice?
 
        Not so long ago I remember driving home after having spent the day with my mother shopping. I was on top of the world for none of the everyday glitches that can set someone off were bothering me in the least.  In fact I was actually feeling happy as a lark or so the saying goes.  Earlier at BJ’s there was a major breakdown due to the check out machines being non functional for over a half an hour.  You can imagine the upset people were experiencing at this BIG inconvenience in their day.  There was I cool as a cucumber actually sympathizing with the employees.  Upset was non existent in my world as I drove towards the intersection of rt.’s 27 and 20. As common in most intersections in order to make it possible for those of us who wanted to turn left onto rt. 20 there was a green arrow for turning. As the line started to move I was sure I would make the light before it changed and ongoing traffic ensued.  All was well and then IT HAPPENED the arrow turned yellow, the man in front of me came to an abrupt halt and I automatically reacted by beeping my horn. Didn’t he know we could have made it through before the light turned green and avoided the long (probably all of 2-3 minutes) wait.  I regretted my reaction seconds after it happened. Where did I just go? The light soon changed again and I turned on rt. 20 and drove a short distance down the road before reaching my destination at Whole Foods.
 
Effective Communication
 
         As fate would have it the man in front of me who stopped at the light also turned into Whole Foods.  As I got out of my car I noticed he was walking towards me with so much rage that foam was coming out of the side of his mouth (not really but it sounds good and I’m into drama).  He angrily asked me why I beeped my horn at him. I was feeling like the child about to be yelled at by her parents for messing up. I responded because you stopped at the yellow light (let’s face it everybody knows that when a green arrow turns yellow it means you have to speed up to make the light).  He then read me the riot act about yellow arrows, his anger escalating.  
 
      We all know that the most important thing for human beings is being right and/or looking good so it would have been a perfect moment for me to defend my righteousness (the fact that I was wrong means nothing at a time like this, because could you believe he was actually yelling at ME in the parking lot of Whole Foods!!!) and then it happened, my moment of Conscious Choice, I let go of my righteous indignation, listened and honored his perspective.  When he stopped I said I am sorry, I did not mean to upset you.  It stopped him in his tracks and not quite knowing how to respond (I’m sure he was prepared for an argumentative response and ready to righteously walk off himself, for we are all the same)  and said it was okay.  I then said no really, your are right, I didn’t need to be so impatient. (I actually saw and meant this for once you are in the present and consciously choosing you aren’t defensive about what you did,rather able to take in what didn’t work)  He then  apologized to me for his behavior. What could be possible for us personally or professionally if we consistently chose our actions instead of reacted?  What might the world look like? 

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