The Art of Crossing the Road
Greetings from Vietnam! I’m off on vacation this week, but still love to write, especially when there are insights to be shared! Travel is my favorite way to refuel, get the creative juices flowing, and learn some great life lessons. This is why I’m sharing my “how to cross a road” life lesson today (also known as the confidence builder)… Trust me, you might want to learn this, if you ever happen to be stuck on a street corner in Vietnam, India, Denver, or just “stuck”…metaphorically speaking, of course.
On the first day of my vacation, I decided to explore the streets of Saigon, and suddenly found myself paralyzed on a street corner. I couldn’t cross the street! There seemed to be an endless stream of motorcycles and cars swerving around each other. They never stopped, and there were no streetlights to control the chaos. I have seen some crazy driving in my travels, but this one topped the list! If I was ever going to cross this street, I had to step back and learn a lesson.
I watched the locals confidently walk into the traffic. Most didn’t even seem to look for cars. They just seemed to trust that the cars and motorcycles would move around them. It was as if they wore an invisible suit of armor that they knew would protect them. There was rhythm and order in this chaos, and I was determined to figure it out!
At first, I took a deep breath and followed on the heels of someone who looked confident. Whew… I made it! And then I decided that this was an opportunity to build my confidence muscles. I crossed as many streets as I could in my adrenaline releasing adventure.
I learned that when I took a risk, and walked with confidence, I got across the street. If I got scared, I would be stuck on a street corner for what seemed like an eternity.
Years ago I was in India, and had a similar experience. However, there’s a whole different technique you use when you cross the road in India. In some places there, it is so dense with people that you have no choice but to just flow with the crowd. You kind of feel like a twig floating down a river. If you go against the flow, it can be maddening, and keep you stuck. But if you move with the crowd, you’ll get where you’re going.
This built my confidence muscle in another way… it was the “go with the flow” confidence muscle. I didn’t have to be taking big risks, I just had to have a general sense of the direction I wanted to go. I was essentially carried to my destination!
So why am I sharing my international street crossing techniques? Well, it happens that there is a lesson here. You see, there are times in life when we have to be strong, and confident, and take a risk. You have to put your head up, shoulders back, and move forward in confidence even if you’re scared and doubting yourself.
There are also times when you have to go with the flow, and let life carry you along in its current. You might have a sense of where to go, but the destination isn’t clear yet. You just have to start somewhere and trust that you’ll be carried when you can’t seem to take the big steps to get there.
The trick is knowing what kind of road are you trying to cross. If you feel stuck in your life right now, take a moment to see how things are “flowing”. Is this a “dart across the road moment”, or a “slow flow down the street moment”? Do you sense the need to be strong, decisive, and take a risk? Or is it time to slow down and trust in the bigger picture or process? Maybe a little bit of both? Whatever your answer may be, remember that either way will get you across the road. You build confidence either way. Sometimes you just have to step off of the street corner and go!