Commuting to and from work in Houston can be a little risky. The traffic is murder, and, in fact, we’ve had murders because of our traffic. That’s a dark, but true statement.
Aside from murder and mayhem, Houston traffic spoke some truth to me the other day. It gave me a little glimpse into our human nature. The side we really can’t stand. The stubborn side.
While heading to work the other day on 610, I was part of the mass inclusion of vehicles striving to get onto Highway 59. As I slowly crept along, I saw a car in front of me swerve on the shoulder in order to avoid running into the back of the car in front of them. I made my own assessment of why this vehicle came very close to causing a wreck and assumed the usual: the driver was distracted by their cell phone. I wasn’t far off.
I passed the car as we both began to exit off of 610 and onto 59. It was a woman, and despite coming so close to having an accident, she was still looking into the visor’s mirror and applying her lipstick. I thought to myself, “You have got to be kidding me. The very thing that almost cost you thousands of dollars in damages, very high insurance premiums, and personal injury (to both parties), you are still doing.” Instead of having a safety epiphany, her method of driving didn’t change.
CONTROLLING OUR OWN DESTINIES
It was a reminder of just how stubborn we can be as humans. We are the creators of our own destiny, and a lot of times we create some pretty dismal destinies.
Let’s conduct a hypothetical analysis of this lady’s driving for a second on the basis that she ended up wrecking her vehicle AFTER her first near-miss.
Her immediate destiny would have been this:
- A wrecked vehicle
- Another person’s wrecked vehicle
- A really uncomfortable time trying to explain to the victim of the accident and to the police officer assigned to the wreck exactly why this accident happened
- Possibly bodily injury to one or both drivers, or passengers in the victim’s vehicle (even worse, it could have been children)
- Rising insurance premiums because the accident would have been her fault
- A ticket, which could have involved reckless endangerment
- The possibility of being sued, which would have included court costs, especially if there were any injuries
- Having to purchase another vehicle, or paying for a rental while the wrecked vehicle is fixed
- The regret of knowing that it all could have been avoided if she had just been watching the road (especially after her first near-miss)
The reason I use this woman as an example is to paint a picture of all of us. We do things that we know increase our chances of injury, disease, pain, loss of income, bankruptcy, and death. We see the possible outcome and, like this woman did, we shrug it off—even after a near miss.
SHRUGGING OFF TRUTH AND NEAR MISSES
It really is just flat-out stubbornness. We are all human beings and we all have our thresholds of stubbornness. Some are more stubborn than others. If you think you aren’t stubborn, then dig a little deeper into how you ignore the dangers and risks around you.
One of the most stubborn acts I can think of is smoking. I know a lot of people who smoke. I have very good friends who are smokers, but what does that matter? They’re still smoking, and I can’t wrap my head around how someone can do it. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 60 years, then you know the immediate health issues that come from smoking.
Let’s consider the future destiny smokers face, and these are all items most smokers are completely aware of:
Despite these well-known points, there are new smokers every day. Despite smokers beginning to feel or see the affects of smoking, they continue to smoke. It is the ultimate in stubbornness. Yes, smoking may be an addictive habit, but addictions can be kicked. It is difficult, but life (and addiction) isn’t easy.
NO ROOM TO COMPLAIN
People who smoke for years or become obese by bad diets and no exercise or have bad livers from heavy drinking or ruin marriages because of cheating or are thrown in jail because of committing a crime or have car accidents because they’re putting on lipstick and not watching the traffic on a busy highway have no room to complain about the destiny they have suddenly (or methodically) created for themselves.
If that woman had a wreck, there really should have been no look of surprise on her face when it happened. No more than a smoker finding out that they have lung cancer. When you are stubborn to reality, the odds are forever in your favor to run into some very bad news (or run into the back end of another vehicle).
Take a moment to analyze the things that could affect you in the immediate and in the long-term. People do things that can cause severe harm, like eating simple sugars on the constant, or watching YouTube while driving, or having multiple sex partners, and they are done on a whim. They are conducted with a shrug without much thought to the possible outcomes.
What do you do that puts you in harm’s way? Analyze it and consider the possibilities. Or you can play the odds and see what happens. But if you choose the latter, please don’t act like you're surprised when bad news arrives.