While driving through town this weekend, I smiled as I passed a local school preparing for a fun event for their students. My smile quickly faded as I noticed an unassuming line of orange cones. Thoughts of a tragic accident that occurred in the past year at that intersection flooded my mind.
I imagined the difficult conversations that must have occurred in the wake of the accident. The second guessing. The questions of what could have been done to prevent it from happening. What should be done to prevent any future recurrences? The cones were no doubt placed there as a result of these discussions.
While I appreciate the efforts made to prevent future accidents, I have one question that I can’t get out of my head: Why did a tragic accident have to happen before any changes were made?
On my way into work today, I observed what has become a routine occurrence during my daily commute: reckless driving. One driver in particular caught my attention. I don’t know what he was late for, but he was obviously in a hurry. In an attempt to get ahead of traffic, he kept swerving from lane to lane, accelerating any time there was even the slightest opening. The most entertaining part of the whole affair was that after 10 minutes of working really hard to get ahead of traffic, this driver found himself behind me, even though he started in front and I didn’t change lanes once.
I see this kind of behavior all the time. Aggressive lane changes, tailgaiting, gunning it from one stoplight to the next. While it may feel to those drivers that they are getting to their destination faster, they are actually contributing to the traffic problems and creating an unsafe environment for everyone.
“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” – Albert Einstein
Have you every found yourself working on a difficult problem, but at a complete loss for how to solve it? You’ve tried everything you can think of, but keep running into dead ends. Your brainstorms are more like a light drizzle. What can you do when you run into the problem-solver’s equivalent of writer’s block?
Conventional wisdom would tell you that you need to “think outside the box”. This is easier said than done. While there are numerous tips available for helping you to jump start your creativity, it is still something that most of of struggle with.
One of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a parent is the inability to get my kids to cooperate. There are many times when I need them to do something that they have no interest in doing, and it needs to be done now. In these situations, I have a choice to make in how I approach the situation. Do I give direct orders? Try to convince them that they should cooperate? Guilt them into it?
I’m always trying to evaluate the situation and choose the approach that is most likely to get quick compliance with my demands. Unfortunately, the initial reaction is almost always “No”.
Clean your room.
Put your shoes on and get in the car.
Do you want a hundred dollars?
They don’t even listen before saying no. It’s a reaction, not a rational decision. No amount of logic or reasoning will change their mind because they aren’t even thinking. Continue reading