Have you ever been caught in rush hour traffic careening along at warp speed? Usually I avoid traffic because I don’t commute to work, but there I was one day, on a busy freeway at the height of rush hour. Cars were zooming by me, speeding, tailgating, changing lanes without using their blinkers, and weaving in and out of traffic. I clutched the steering wheel—going with the flow the best I could—and ranted and seethed about all the bad drivers on the road.
Then it dawned on me that the opposite might also be true.
It took a great deal of skill for people to drive the way they were driving and live to tell about it. Maybe they were either good or bad drivers depending on my perspective. So instead of cursing people for driving badly, I pronounced everyone a skillful driver.
This by no means condones dangerous driving. Many people were still driving recklessly, but traffic was flowing along amazingly well, all things considered. I decided that, as long as it’s human nature to believe something at all times, I might as well believe something that gets me home relaxed and feeling peaceful. My mood lightened, my hands relaxed on the wheel, and I made it home safely thanks to my good driving and the skill of everyone else on the road.
Since then I’ve played “the opposite might also be true” in other areas of my life, as well, and I realize that any moment can be a turning point if there’s a shift in perception. If people behave rudely, for example, I can mentally pronounce them warm, compassionate people who might be having a difficult day. If something doesn’t work out the way I want, I affirm that it turned out for the best because something as good as I want—or better—is on its way.
Philosopher and author Ernest Holmes wisely said “Change your thinking, change your life.”
In the moment between focusing on outward circumstances and focusing on an inward, more life-affirming perspective, a potential exists for a turning point. Our whole world hovers, balances precariously, and waits for us to decide. If we choose wisely, we arrive at our destination feeling relaxed and peaceful, clear thinking, and calm.