I got a parking ticket last week. I should tell you that I’m normally very good, very careful, an ‘honest to goodness’, accepting of the ‘user-pays’ philosophy type of gal. This particular time however I had the choice of being late for an appointment, or playing the odds and seeing if I could have my cake and eat it too. I did a quick mental risk analysis and decided I’d play the odds, figuring that making a positive first impression would be with the $15-20 ticket if I should be unlucky enough to get stuck with one.
So, OK, they did indeed stick it to me (well, to my window screen actually) …. And it wasn’t $15, or even $20, in fact it was a $40 infringement notice!! ‘Fiddlesticks!’ I thought when I saw the amount, or words to that effect!…
If I’m honest, I didn’t think it would happen. For some reason I thought the universe would with some great karmic understanding recognise that this was me: ’Ms well-meaning, upright citizen, not in need of a financial reprimand’ and somehow make the parking warden decide to not walk down that street at that time (as they probably do every day). Crazy huh?
The story illustrates some interesting points to ponder though. Heres the ones that occurred to me:
1) If you’re gonna take a risk, be willing to take the possible consequence – and
2) Be aware that sometimes you can’t foresee the totality of the consequences!
3) Your expectations create your perception - If I hadn’t put the $15-$20 trade-off in my mind, $40 may not have seemed so extreme.
4) (And most importantly) you can focus on the details, or the big picture. In most situations you can choose to be the victim or the victor. Yes, I had to pay the fine (‘victim’), but even at twice as much as I had anticipated, I still don’t regret the decision to choose promptness and good first impression over some money in my wallet. The big picture view, and clarity of purpose and values leaves me feeling solid in my decision (‘victorious), rather than foolish or like a victim of bad luck/timing.
And finally, I learned that while the world might care how good, kind and well-meaning you are, and karma may well affect our every day lives – it didn’t have squat over the parking warden that day! lol (thought I’d finish on a light note).
I know this is a light-hearted post, but its amazing the different lessons people take from every-day experiences and I’m interested to see if you take any other learnings from my experience. So, do feel free to share your comments/thoughts! Cheers!
Have you ever noticed that when we talk about the good stuff, it sounds scary? I mean we ’break barriers’, or ‘tackle challenges’, to ‘hit’ or even better ‘smash targets’, we sound quite a violent bunch really, don’t we? But seriously, the search for personal or business success is a journey, and journeys are often fraught with adventures and challenges (expected and otherwise) - thats what makes the experience so memorable. In a nutshell, a successful journey or venture requires two things – 1) Taking deliberate action; and 2) Taking a risk.
In order to go to such lengths we must first furnish ourselves with motivation. Ah motivation, that much courted, often allusive of states… So, how do we achive it? Motivation occurs when we identify something we really want and don’t yet have, but that in itself is not enough. We must also believe that we have the capability to bridge the gap between where we are, and where we want to be.
So, simply put these are the basic ingredients to success!
- Knowing what you want
- Believing you could achieve it
- Having a plan and commitment to actioning it
As simple as 1, 2, 3… literally! But number 1 alone has been the topic of millions of books, counselling session and woeful sagas (without even ‘tackling’ 2 and 3). As pleasure-seeking beings, it seems counter-intuitive to me that when it comes down to it, so many of us ultimately have absolutely no clue what we want. I think though that the problem here is in fact less about not being aware, and more about being too aware.
No really, please bare with me (sp?) I mean bear with me?…hmm Think back to your childhood. Back when you were a tot did you know then what would make you happy? What did you want to do? What was you dream? Di you want to be a vet? a doctor? Superman? lol So OK, not all of our dreams are achieveable, but many of us never give ourselves the opportunity to find out, because we bring ’reality’ crashing down on ourselves as we grow up, and become more aware of the barriers which might get in our way.
This pattern seems to cut across cultures, countries, oceans and generations. It’s one of the things that got me interested in professional & personal development – my ‘I want it now’ approach to life, left me wondering what might be possible if I just tried – odds and barriers be damned. But that lightbulb moment is another story. That story to follow. Have you thought about what dreams you’ve marked as ‘unrealistic’ and let go? What barriers get in your way? Or when you don’t let them what do you work around, minimise or negotiate them?
One final thought to close; its a [paraphrased] famous quote, one of my favourites:
‘barriers are what we see, when we take our eyes off the prize!’