I was driving along to reach the hospital to celebrate with my cousin’s family for the birth of their baby. As I arrived at the T Junction, instead of taking a right, I took a left. I had been on this road a hundred times before. It was just that I was lost in my world of thoughts, and I made a silly mistake!
The implication - I had to drive about 2 km extra before I got a U-turn, and had to suffer about 5 red lights on the journey back. My momentary slip of alertness had cost me about 15 mins delay. Those 15 mins could mean the difference between being there when the doctor steps out of the operation theatre to announce whether the baby was a boy or a girl! I wanted to be there!
My wrong turn led me into the path of peak traffic. Cars and rickshaws jostled for road space, two wheelers curved and dodged past; and the 2 kms seemed never ending. I know that the divider along the road offered no cut from where I could turn back, yet my eyes hopefully followed the divider, lest some new cut may have magically have opened up! But alas, no such luck.
At first I consoled myself by putting on my favourite song “Kun faaya kun" and attempted to enjoy the time with myself. Soon I approached the signal from where I would have my opportunity to correct my course. It was a mess. There was a huge queue of vehicles hoping to get past the signal. Already two green lights had come and gone, and there was hardly any progress.
I could feel the colour of my thoughts and emotions changing. The pressure was rising in my internal barometer. My self talk was turning hostile.
“Why does this happen to me?"
“If only, I had been a little more alert…"
“Shucks… what a waste!"
“Damn it, this traffic!"
“OMG, I took a wrong turn again!"
Thats when it hit me. In my journey there are going to be a few wrong turns. There will be failures. Rejections will happen. Sometimes for no fault of mine, and certainly other times I could have done better.
The tendency is to slip into two opposite patterns of behaviour - at one extreme I can blame the entire situation on external factors and be totally nonchalant, or at the other end I can fill myself with guilt and self pity. More often that not, I have tended to do the latter, beating myself up over my mistakes.
My life is punctuated with such moments, and will continue to be. A partnership turning sour, an test result going wrong, an important interview mucked up, a wrong decision, a friend turns against me, and son on.
The crux is going to be, can I continue to stay positive and happy even when they happen. Can I stay miles away from guilt. Can I stay 'chilled’?
I truly believe that my ability to handle my own mistakes with an attitude of ‘happily learning’ is going to be the key for me to do big and better things in my life. As I write this, I feel another brilliant thing happening, the fear of ‘what if I fail’ is slipping away, and a silent determination enjoy the process of playing to win is slipping in!
With loads of love and gratitude,