Often I look for inspiration almost as soon as I wake up. It can come through a Facebook post, an inspiring story in the news, or even a well-placed billboard along the highway. Sometimes though, it comes completely unsolicited from an unsuspecting source. When the latter happens, it often hits like a truck…the wow moments of life.
These are my favorite and I was fortunate enough to experience one of those today. What was this awesome source of inspiration? A pothole…that’s right, a pothole. Allow me to explain.
On my commute home, there’s a very sizable pothole in the right lane of traffic along the main through way; it’s been there for years. It gets repaired now and then, but it always returns to its dastardly ways within a month or two.
I’ve hit that pothole more than I’ve missed it over the years, literally hundreds of times. Every time I hit it I think to myself, “why did I hit that car-disabling sinkhole again, when I knew it was there?”
Yesterday on my way home, I really squared it up. It was one of those hits that makes you think you’ve knocked the front end out of alignment and flattened a tire. Fortunately I didn’t, but a different thought entered my head yesterday.
Potholes are everywhere in our lives. Most often, they show up in the form of repeated mistakes and bad habits. Some are minor annoyances but others are debilitating. They line the roadways of our daily thoughts and actions. We know they are there, yet we fall into them anyway.
We never intentionally drive into them, yet we also don’t make a conscious effort to change lanes and avoid them. What’s the secret to avoiding these setbacks? For me, it’s looking at the patterns in my life that lead me back to the same unwanted places again and again.
Once I identify the cause, I try to institute a simple change in routine. On the highway, it would be switching lanes well in advance of the pothole. In our mind, it’s no different. When we identify that we are on the old familiar route that always leads back to those same potholes, we need to switch lanes.
If I feel myself starting to sink into a funk, instead of just letting it happen, I go for a quick run or a walk around the block; that’s changing lanes.
If I feel myself getting overwhelmed or stressed by my workload, I unplug for a few minutes and shift my focus to something more calming like music or a quick reading session of a good book.
Potholes are everywhere but they aren’t unavoidable. Be cognizant of where they are and put steps in place to avoid them.