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November 25, 2022

Running A Red Light

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I want to preface by saying this reflection does not come from my recent personal experience but rather what I’ve observed recently. For whatever reason, in the last few weeks I’ve seen a number of people drive right through a red light or a stop sign. Fortunately none of these incidents led to an accident, but interestingly this put me in a unique position to think about a few different instances of this mistake and draw some unique insights.

In the first instance, someone blew through the stop sign and they knew it the second they entered the intersection. Her posture tensed and attention focused. You could see a wave of fear and embarrassment grip her instantly. It’s a pretty normal reaction when you realize you make a mistake, especially one that puts you in danger.

Then I saw someone who went through a red light but didn’t realize it until she made it through. But it wasn’t a full moment of regret and acknowledgment, you could tell that something felt off. It’s that sinking feeling that something’s wrong and you can’t quite place it. This created more a puzzled, introspective response rather than a strong anxiety or stress response.

Then last, there was a man who ran a red light with zero knowledge that he even did it. He drove through the intersection unaffected and undisturbed. Not good, but it happens!

The reason I bring up these different examples is because it highlights the power of awareness. The same situation with three different lenses of awareness creates three very different personal outcomes. It also shows how your emotional experience is tied to the meaning you give to the events that happen in your life. 

I realize that some of these topics we talk about are difficult to conceptualize, so I wanted to take this moment to show it with real, tangible examples I found in my life. Your life is already everything you’d ever want it to be, it’s just a matter of starting to see it that way.

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