Have you ever been in a situation where you were being corrected and felt you don’t need correcting or taking advice from a particular person or through assumptions, jumping to the wrong conclusions? If yes, read on. Personally, I have been guilty of this in the past and learning every day to be and do better.
I was seated in a yellow Keke (tuk-tuk or tricycle) recently, on a 10km stretch of road heading home. During this mostly peaceful ride home, a passenger in another keke made a gesture to my driver. I personally felt this good Samaritan was saying lock your boot but my driver felt he was being insulted and raised his voice towards the good Samaritan. The good Samaritan felt he had done his part and allowed my driver to continue driving.
For every action or inaction, there are consequences. In our own case during that drive, we would have been involved in creating an accident but thank God sense later entered the driver and he parked to check. He discovered all along that his boot was actually opened. Rather than feel remorse for insulting the good Samaritan, he went on to start complaining and making justification for raising his voice previously.
In her book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown talks about the importance of “rumbling with our stories.” In other words, being conscious of the meanings we attach to particular events and situations and unpacking what we know to be true from where we’re filling in the gaps with guesswork. She shares the work of Robert Burton, a neurologist who explains why we jump to conclusions (and why it can be so hard to stop). According to him, our brains reward us with dopamine whenever we recognise and complete patterns, whenever we fill in the gaps and reach an understanding about something. The problem is we don’t have to be right to get this dopamine hit: we just need to think we’re right. Certainty matters more than accuracy. And this is where we run into issues with our stories. It’s why, when a good friend doesn’t respond to a call or email for a week, we think “they must be mad at me about something” and feel a sense of satisfaction from thinking this, even though the idea also provokes anxiety and upset. In the case of the keke driver, he created a story in his mind that the other person was just insulting him base on how he drove past a T-junction.
It is good to once in a while, stop and check ourselves. You may be headed in the wrong direction or doing the wrong thing and a good Samaritan comes along to point you in the right direction. Don’t be too quick to claim you know it all or create a story in your mind that suits you. Stop and consider their perspective. It may be a real cause for concern and other times, it may be nothing at all. Still, stop and check rather than assume. There are so many hints and flags on our path to reaching for our goals that are meant for our good. Don’t allow your attitude to be the cause for you to take the 40 years route instead of 4 years to reach those goals simply because you won’t stop and check. Where in your life, do you need to stop and check? Why not just stop and make that check now. Selah!