I was driving around yesterday evening looking for the FedEx pickup office where a Christmas package was being held (Santa delivered it there rather than leave it at my door with no signature).
On the way, I took about six wrong turns because the place was in a nearby neighborhood in which I ‘thought’ I knew my way around.
Danger, danger, Will Robinson!
Here’s the thing. Anytime you think you ‘already know’ something, you automatically start to act, like, twelve times stupider than you actually are.
When you do that Yeah yeah, I know thing, your mind has a tricky way of putting you on autopilot in unknown territory, fooling you into thinking everything’s gonna be just dandy.
When in reality, you're like a person who's smoking pot and texting while trying to ride a unicycle backwards. For the first time.
So that evening, as I realized I didn’t have an effing clue where I was, I found myself sitting at a light, waiting to make a course-correcting u-turn.
There was a sign above the light that indicated I could either turn left or make a u-turn.
Cars whizzed past me in each direction.
My mind was filled with various thoughts (you know how minds are) such as, I love this song that’s playing. . . I haven’t heard from so-and-so in two eons, wonder if she still lives in the same place. . . I need to make a hair appointment. . . Where does THAT road lead. . . I should get my garage cleaned out. . . so-and-so is such a good friend. . .
You get the picture.
I waited there a few seconds.
(And, yeah, a few seconds is all it takes for all-of-the-above-thoughts-and-more to run through my head.)
And suddenly I realized that the light wasn’t going to turn green.
No matter how long I waited at that light, there was no go-go-greenery happening anytime in the foreseeable future.
BECAUSE THERE WAS NO LIGHT.
I was waiting at an uncontrolled intersection, watching clusters of headlights pass me and then dissipate, letting precious seconds of my evening slip away, waiting for the ‘all clear’ signal.
You know, the signal that says, ‘Go.’
The green light.
And yet, there was none.
My mind, which had tricked me into thinking I knew were the f—- I was going in the first place, had also tricked me into seeing a light where none existed.
Sure, there were lights at all the surrounding intersections. There were lights every-freakin’-where.
‘Specially if you count the holiday lights on the neighborhood streets, which remind me sometimes that, Jesus, folks, carbon footprint much??
(Oops, I digress.)
But at this particular intersection, there was no light. And yet I was waiting for permission to proceed.
Permission that would never come.
All it took for me to change my game was to become aware that permission was not forthcoming.
As soon as I realized I was waiting for a magic wand that would never grant my wish, I was able to accurately gauge oncoming traffic and plot my quick u-turn, which in moments led me to a nice cozy (no, I’m being facetious) warehouse where I could pick up my lovely Christmas package.
And I realized how often we wait for permission to move forward in life.
We wait for someone or something else to signal us to Go!
We think we’re stuck at a red light, when really the decision whether to proceed- with a project, a business, a relationship, a meal- is entirely up to us.
I also realized that- just as I determined the correct time to make my u-turn based on the distance of the oncoming cars, the size and relative speed of my car, and my confidence in my own ability to turn in the space and time provided- we have much more knowledge, and many more tools at our disposal, than we often give ourselves credit for.
I don’t think about making u-turns consciously. I used to, when I first began driving. But these days, I just make the turn. All the micro-decisions leading up to it happen somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. The information I need just shows up when I need it.
It’s the same with anything else I do.
The truth is, I have the knowledge. I have the ability. I even have the drive and devotion to succeed at anything I set my mind to.
And so do you.
It’s just a matter of taking matters into your own hands and making the turn. Moving forward into that next opportunity.
So what about that, then?
Are you waiting for the green light?
Waiting for permission to take the next step (start that business, create that art, audition for that role, send that important email, ship that product)?
Look up. There’s no red light. The intersection is wide and clear.
Look up, and then put your foot on the gas pedal, honey- and steer your life in the direction of your dreams.
Your Christmas package awaits.