Have you ever made a decision in confidence, working through a plan toward a goal, and then suddenly out of nowhere someone else comes along and, just by speaking or being alive, completely throws a wrench in the methodical machine that was your perfectly delegated process? I struggle a lot with doubt, especially doubting myself because of others. I constantly feel like I’m standing on quick sand and the ground is ever shifting beneath me. The other day I had a bit of an epiphany in my car while on the way to the ranch.
While traveling toward an intersection, the light turned yellow. I did what most drivers do, which is to make a split second decision, taking several factors into account at once at the sort of speed that really defines the capacity of the human mind. Knowing the light pretty well, I knew if I sped up just a bit, I could get up the slight hill and at least most of the way through the intersection before the light turned red. I also knew that if I tried to stop where I was, I would risk stopping over the line or causing an accident. I opted to keep going.
Just before I reached the line, the car beside me stopped abruptly. I caught sight of their hesitation out of the corner of my eye and it spooked me enough to make me question my decision. I firmly tapped the brakes only to be reminded, due to the sensation of the laws of physics at work on my vehicle, that it was dangerous and unreasonable to try to stop. But that moment of hesitation was enough to put me in an awkward position with time ticking away, which caused me to punch it for fear of running a red light, which caused the single tire of my front wheel drive vehicle to spin and squeal, which caused more embarrassment, which then lurched me not even 1/3 of the way across the intersection when the light turned red and my fear was realized, which then caused me to sink in my seat and uncomfortably advance across the intersection like a scared mouse running through a pack of cats and flee the scene, except that my attempts were foiled by the car in front of me stopping to eeeeeeaaaaaaseee into the parking lot to the right. And this, of course, meant that a car that had been at the scene of the crime, and potentially seen everything, had now turned onto the street behind me, which subsequently made for an awkward procession down the rest of the street for me with two hands on either side of the wheel as if I were taking my driver’s test again, with irritatingly excessive caution, an unnecessary amount of braking, overuse of turn signals, and lots of sneaky glances in my rear view mirror while trying to judge if they were convinced I was utterly incompetent and unworthy of my driver’s license yet, but without alerting said driver that I was eyeballing them like a complete schizoid. (Yes, English comp Nazis, I am quite aware that the above sentences are horrifically long and in dire need of being separated into shorter, cleaner complete sentences…as is this one….)
The moral of this painfully long parable is this; Let every decision you make for yourself and your life be logical, deliberate, well thought out and planned out first and stick with it. Do not let the decisions made by others for themselves and their own special situations effect your confidence in your decisions. Your life is not like theirs, everyone has a unique set of circumstances. If you attempt to reenact the choices and results of someone else in your own life, the end product will more than likely be much different than you had hoped for. Even if your initial decision was less than perfect, sometimes it ends up much safer to simply follow through and deal with the minor consequences until it is safe to change course than attempt an immediate metaphorical U-turn before God and everybody.