In college, our coaches would constantly tell us to stay in our lane. If you were a big, you definitely shouldn't be shooting 3's and bringing the ball up the court. If you were a guard, you better be doing what you were supposed to, otherwise you found yourself on the bench. Makes sense, right? Do what you are supposed to do- focus on what you are doing and everything will be alright.
If you are an accountant at your job, you wouldn't be repairing the roof of the building or managing the HR department either. So why do we not take these principles and apply them to our every day lives?
The usual intention behind "staying in your lane" refers to minding your own business. We have heard that one a thousand times over. But let's for a second think of life as a road. We are unsure of how long we are on our roads, but we know that one day, we won't be here and thus, our journey ends. How far you get on your road, will be completely up to you.
I would like you to build your highway in your head right now. It can be along the coast line, through the mountains, or somewhere you have been before. It can be summer time, a winter snow or through the autumn leaves. Maybe it is during the day, at sunset, or you're on a night cruise. Whatever it may be, this is your cruise.
The next step is what kind of car are you driving? Instantly the first car that comes to your mind. If your car isn't your dream car, you need to take a minute and realise you are worth having that car and going on the drive you deserve. After all, it is your life and you can have whatever you want in it.
Now that we have built that, let's talk about how this drive works. Just like every other long haul you may have taken, the road is never straight. There will be bends in the road, hills, merges and even a pothole or two accompanied by construction delays. The best news for some of us- there are no speed limits. You can drive this car as fast as you want. Granted, this doesn't necessarily change the time we spend on our drive, but it definitely adds to the excitement if we so chose to live that way.
We are on our highway, cruising along, doing as we please. Life is enjoyable when we live that way- unconcerned with what those around us are doing, just in our own little world. But life isn't always that simple, is it?
As we are cruising on our road, all of a sudden a car with Pennsylvania plates (yes I am singling you out Pennsylvania- this is not opinion, this is fact) hops into your lane with out signalling and cuts you off. You have to veer to avoid being hit and you become angered. Easily, this could start to make your road bend. It can impede your progression moving forward through your day. You can remain angry and the driver in front or you can decide to create an exit on your highway solely for that Pennsylvania driver and allow them to exit back to where they came from.
The same logic can be applied in our lives. I was the worst when it came to this mindset. Someone would screw something up and instead of taking five seconds to breathe and recompose myself, it would effect me for a larger portion of my day. If at work someone is late, or someone has something negative to say about you, should you allow those five seconds to ruin your morning or day? Of course not, but we don't always allow ourselves to let go of trivial events that hold no real bearing on our lives. Create an exit, let that person get off and continue on down your road in peace.
The next major issue when driving? Traffic. As someone who grew up in New Jersey and went to college in New York, I know all about traffic. I know the frustration of an hour drive taking three hours or more and how annoyed you can become when you cannot move forward.
A lot of us, right now in our lives, are stuck in traffic. But how does traffic happen? Well for starters, some traffic is caused by external factors out of our control. When we are driving and there is a construction site set up, traffic becomes bottlenecked and we have no option but to wait to move forward. Annoying yes, but something that we have no control over and so we must navigate our way to our destination as best we can. Patience, sometimes, is the most important thing we can learn in this life. Sometimes the universe isn't ready for us to move forward, so we must be patient while we work on ourselves before opportunities open up. Don't be in a rush.
There are also variables that we can control. Traffic is simply a cause of too many cars on the road at any one given time. When going on a trip, we always avoid rush hour when possible. You intentionally avoid other cars on the road so you can have as smooth of a ride to your next destination as possible. Why do we not do this in our lives as well?
As we get older, we do a better job of realising the people who are most important to us, as opposed to when we are younger and looking for friends, acceptance and a general level of understanding of who we are. But even as we get older, how many of us allow a toxic person to clog up our roads? They are driving their car, smoke billowing out of the engine, fumes going everywhere, driving 30 mph slower than you causing you to brake.
You look to change lanes until you realise that one car is actually three cars, and you are boxed in. The simple solution, upon this realisation, is to build a new exit and guide them off of your high way. Do not think that when someone leaves the highway they can never get back on. Sometimes they need to get back on their own highway in order to fix their car. Once they have done that, they can always be welcomed back. After all, if we all go the same speed there is no cause for a traffic jam.
Further to the toxic people in our lives, sometimes we give too much time to others. Carlie and I have been a major abuser of this until recently. We all have relationships with people in which we are constantly pushing and pulling. Sometimes, we don't realise how many people are in fact pulling on us. If you are being pulled in too many directions, you will never know which way is forward in your life. When your road is clear, it is easy to get to your destination. The signs are easier to read when you don't have to worry about the Pennsylvania driver cutting you off or lagging into your lane. There is less merging from lane to lane to get where you want to go and an overall smoother journey.
We must be careful as to not allow too many cars to be on our highways. We have to be a little selfish with our time and space if we want to reach the destinations we set out to hit. There are countless stories of athletes and celebrities who have instant success, but their highways become more crowded, slowing down their progress and ultimately, they break down before they ever really get started. It is okay to travel the quiet roads.
We have all missed an exit or a turn when driving somewhere we don't know. It happens in life as well, but when we drive our GPS redirects us to an alternate route. In life, we have the exact same capabilities, but if in heavy traffic, those routes sometimes take a little longer to be seen. Panic starts to set in, because we now have to be aware of the people around us, trying to navigate to the next turn and not crash. In life, when we face an obstacle, but too many people are pulling us in different directions we cannot find the solution we want as easily.
This is why it is important to keep other cars at a safe distance, to avoid crashing. We need to make sure we don't allow other to encroach in our personal space either. This is not an invitation to block people out permanently, but rather a warning to not allow others to drain your energy and respecting yourself, your space and your time.
As I said before, in life there will be obstacles and when driving you will come across bends in the road. How long and sharp those bends are before heading in the right direction are solely up to you. A trivial obstacle such as being reprimanded, if not handled the correct way, can lead to a long winding bend in our road. Alternatively, a major obstacle, being diagnosed with a health issue, can be nothing more than a small bend if handled with the right mindset and proactively. We have the ability to control and shape our roads, but we do not believe in the power of our minds.
Finally, it is important to be pure and genuine with your driving. Our roads will intersect with others- it is a guarantee. If not living within our bounds, we will undoubtedly crash. For those interested in metaphysics, the consequence to crossing boundaries and living life ingenuinely, is indeed a car crash. Be mindful of those around you, because they are trying to get to their destination too.
Be safe on your journey, but remember, you can shape exactly how it turns out.