Last week’s storm in Atlanta was not a big problem because everyone learned a lesson from the Snowmageddon storm two weeks earlier. A couple weeks ago, Atlanta was hit by 2 to 3 inches of snow, all predicted well in advance. But the city ended up paralyzed for a couple days. Most people had gone to work thinking that they’d leave early if and when the storm started. I left work at 1 PM and it took me two and a half hours to get home. Had I left at noon it would have been the normal 35 to 45 minutes. My boss took six and a half hours to get home, and one coworker had to abandon her car and another spent the night stuck in stopped traffic on an interstate bridge over night. What was bad was that a lot of the snow turned to ice on the roads. Looking back on my relatively short ride home in the storm, I see some similarities between life and the road conditions I encountered.
As I got onto the interstate beltway, there was a car on each side, both northbound and southbound, that had spun out into the ditch on the side of the road. Others, myself included, were for the most part proceeding very slowly. I try to do that in life in general, not just in driving. When others are having problems and failing, I try to learn from others’ mistakes, proceed slowly, so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Soon after getting on the interstate, I proceeded to pass an 18 wheeler stuck stationary on the slight uphill. As I slowly went by, I saw that he was not moving at all, but his wheels were spinning on the ice. That reminded me of the times I loose traction while pursuing a goal or objective. When I get bogged down in the research and planning as a means to procrastinate taking the needed action, I am just spinning my wheels.
Just a couple of miles after the stuck 18 wheeler, I came to a three lane banked overpass with even more ice. I was following some vehicles in the slow lane, going 3 to 5 mph, and as I approached the bank, I saw the cars in the center and left lanes braking as they saw other cars sliding down the banked slope to the left. Most of the cars in those two lanes made the error of hitting the brakes when noting the ice or someone else sliding, which broke the traction and sent them spinning and sliding as well.
Those of us in the slow lane kept to the right, with the right tires actually on the shoulder in unpacked snow, and kept moving at a very slow constant speed over the overpass without incident. I see the same issues in my life – when I hit the slippery slope of a mistake or error and tend to want to make a quick correction, I can overcompensate. I may make a quick change in direction or want to put the brakes on and give up, at least temporarily. Or I may focus on others and what they are doing or thinking. What I need is a clear objective with a clear path that can be pursued at a steady pace.
I am reminded of the little boy who cried wolf when I think of several times the weathermen here have predicted a picture of weather doom and gloom that didn’t pan out to be so bad. So this time, most people didn’t really take the warnings seriously until things were already getting bad. That has happened to me in other areas as well. When someone (often someone close with insights) gives advice over and over without any of the predicted consequences, it becomes easier and easier to ignore the advice. My best current example is the fact that I want to loose some weight, and the doctor has even suggested it would be a good idea. But I keep delaying the advice to put an app on my smart phone to assist, and the weight doesn’t get any better by itself. I need to accept that there is a wolf I want to get rid of and determine to do so, whether or not anyone else cries wolf.
Anyway, snowmageddon reminded me just how quick things can get bad, and that we really do have to plan ahead when we want to accomplish a goal or objective. What about you? Need to increase your traction on something or to get off a slippery slope? Why not start now?