Close to my house, and on my way to just about every place I drive, there is a five way intersection. If you’ve ever been through a five way intersection, you know that things can get a little dicey when there are more than a couple cars at any one time. As long as everyone can count, and follows basic rules of courtesy, things can flow pretty smoothly. Introduce an uncertain or aggressive driver into the mix, however, and things can go bad very quickly!
As the surrounding towns have grown, and traffic at the intersection has increased, a decision was made to replace the intersection with a rotary. This will, hopefully, make traffic flow more efficient and gridlock nearly impossible. Construction began this past spring and has continued through the hot days of summer. On average, I go through the construction site six times a day.
Six times a day, times seven days a week, times about sixteen weeks equals roughly six hundred seventy-five trips through the construction site. Given the numbers, I now consider myself somewhat of an expert on rotary construction. As such, I’d like to share a few important lessons that I’ve learned while waiting at the soon to be completed rotary. These lessons apply not only to construction sites, but to life in general. They are not new but, I think, are worth repeating.
1. Practice patience. You will always encounter times when you have to wait, in traffic, at the checkout line or for that return call. Choosing to wait with patience, as opposed to annoyance or irritation, will do wonders for your overall emotional and physical well-being. Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies are interconnected. Science has now shown that our attitudes affect our DNA. When we shift our attitude from anger, irritation or resentment into appreciation, joy or acceptance, even for less than a minute, we begin a cascade of positive change in all of our bodies.
So, next time you have to wait, why not take a few deep breaths, say a few words of appreciation to yourself, think of something that brings you joy, or smile for no reason. Your mind, body and spirit, as well as the people around you, will feel much better.
2. Stop being a victim. This may come as a surprise but the powers that be did not decide to do this construction project just to ruin your day. It’s not about you. The next time you find yourself slowed down or perhaps disrupted by some random occurrence in your life, listen to the conversation in your head. Is it full of “poor me”, self-pity, blame and resentment? Change your perspective for a moment. Think about the workers who are standing out in the heat and dust all day, or laying tar in 100 degree heat. Would you rather be them, or perhaps the person who had the accident that’s causing the pile-up? Probably not. It would be healthier to be grateful that you have air-conditioning in your car and can close your windows against the heat and dust or that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. As the saying goes, attitude is everything.