Life in the Fast Lane…
That was the license plate of the guy passing me on my right, at approximately 140 kilometers per hour (90mph) down the highway. That was the license plate of the guy driving a silver Cadillac, dressed in a casual business blazer, sporting a chinstrap and a dark tan. That was the license plate of the guy who was wrong to pass me on the road. That was the license plate of the guy who I was determined to beat to the finish.
The race was on.
We took the same exit. I rounded the corner on the left and passed him as he got caught up by other cars in front of him. He passed me, again on the right, edging into the third lane as we turned left. The conversation in my head went like this, “At least I can stay in my own lane… You, Sir, are a sloppy driver.”
He sped up and left me in the dust, driving way faster than the speed limit. Once again the voice in my head spoke up, “He thinks he’s so cool. He thinks he can break all the laws just to get ahead.”
I met up with him again at the next red light.
“Ha! I got him – and I didn’t even have to speed. I love the way the universe conspires to create balance in the world.”
The light turned green and he took off again, racing down the road, leaving me far behind. Once again, we met up at a red light. We were at the corner of Steeles Avenue and Pine Valley Road. I was turning left and he was turning right. We went our separate ways. The race was over.
So who won?
The truth is that the race was something I invented, and it had absolutely no logic or basis in reality. I made it up. I decided that the man with the chinstrap didn’t deserve to win. He looked arrogant and I judged him based on his appearance. The story I told is that he thought he was better than everyone else and it was my job to correct his self-aggrandizing view of himself. I compared my driving abilities to his and, the truth is that I had felt a sense of self-righteousness each time we met up at a red light. The universe was teaching him a lesson, I thought.
I created a massive tale about some random guy who was driving in the car next to me – who probably didn’t even notice me beside him. The truth is that he may have been speeding to get to a meeting he was late for because his 2-year-old threw up in the morning and he chose to spend a few extra minutes soothing his son. He may have been speeding to get to the hospital to visit his sick mother before a heavy day at work. Who knows? Not me. But I made it up and I built my world around it for a few good minutes.
Guess what? Some of us do it for a whole lifetime. We waste all of our energy competing with some fictitious character, imagining that our value is determined by the outcome of the competition. We look at who has more money, who has a nicer car, whose business drives more revenue, whose kids are better behaved…and we compare our worth in the world to a fabricated standard.
We miss out on so much when we spend our time comparing ourselves to others and using that as a gauge of our value. We miss noticing all the miracles around us and all the things that are working. We miss taking a moment to be grateful for the wonderful relationships in our lives and we miss all of the ways that the universe conspires to serve us.
Are you racing against the car beside you? Perhaps, it’s time to smile and wave instead. Sit back, relax and sing along to one of your favorite CDs.