My husband and I were taking our five-year-old daughter to daycare. She was cycling with her little bike, and since no one else was on the road, we gave her permission to speed up towards the double gates on top of a hill. There was a space between the two gates, measuring a meter in width, designed to slow people down before the downhill ride. She was used to riding slowly between the gates and sped up confidently. Out of nowhere, a man with a speed scooter caught up with her. My daughter slammed on the brakes out of fear of losing her balance, and the man sped past her in that very tight space.
I yelled out to the man: “That was not fair! A grown man cannot compete with a five- year-old, ever, but especially in a tight spot like this!”
The man stopped and apologized. He admitted to not being fair and as a father of a four-year-old, he knew the skills of my daughter were not good enough to handle the situation. He said he was blind sighted by his hurry to get to work. He should have probably left earlier…
It was nice of him to apologize, since more often than not we end up getting a mouthful in these types of situations. We get bombarded with the person’s frustrations from the whole week, sometimes the month, the year.
Being in a constant state of stress and hurrying around like headless chickens, turns even the nicest and the most compassionate of us into selfish idiots. When you’re in a hurry, you only think about yourself – me me me. This happens to all of us: when our thoughts revolve around our problems obsessively, there is no time to notice what’s going on in our surroundings. We only notice our hurry.
Busybodies, whose thoughts circle around themselves are found in traffic, but also in workplaces. Their own needs of making it on time, killing those deadlines and doing a good job bypass everything else. There is simply no time for others.
I want to stress that I don’t think we’re all selfish idiots, even though it seems like in these hectic times, we tend to make it a competition about who is the most efficient, the most successful and the most important!
Being in a constant state of hurry narrows down our focus to survival mode. Unfortunately, this need to survive takes over and we tend to ignore everyone else – even our children. But how many of us really want to run over people – physically or spiritually?
There’s a solution for this blind sighted hurry: notice what you are focusing on. If you only focus on your thoughts when you’re anxious, you should practice more mindful ways of focusing your attention elsewhere.
You can start by examining your breathing. Do this before going to bed at night. When the anxious thoughts arise, you can simply acknowledge them by thinking “aha, I’m having these thoughts” and then focus on your breathing again, letting the thoughts pass you by. You can also try to focus on how your body feels. Often, we give all our focus on our thoughts, forgetting that our body needs our attention too.
These exercises are quite simple, yet they are very powerful in noticing where our focus tends to go. When you regain power over your focus, you can shift your focus where it needs to be. Even on those busy mornings, when you’re late for work, you’ll have the capacity to focus on other people too.
I believe there would at least 90% less selfish idiots hurrying around, if we would all learn to breathe. We’d be better human beings if we’d learn to shift our focus where it’s needed and observe our surroundings. We should all start with ourselves. Go on, breathe.
Final note: I too admit to being a selfish idiot when I’m in a hurry. I think we all are. The change begins when we can admit this.