I must preface in sharing that this particular blog post was inspired by the recent 30-hours I've spent driving to and from Florida (with my family) for Spring Break. Yes, in most ways the trip had the normal beauty, some boredom (hi Ohio!), epic rainfall (hello to Tennessee and Alabama!) and finally, much needed time with my toes in the sand (beautiful Emerald Coast!).
However, I was often left scratching my bald head at the sheer cluelessness or lack of caring altogether with some of our human brethren. I must say, sometimes I ask how we've made it this far, as a species, to begin with? What I am referring to, my friends, is the amount of people I see driving in excess of 80 mph, while concurrently texting. Unbelievable . . . actually, scratch that; I completely believe it. I've lost the ability of being shocked by what some people actually do.
Alas, this brings us to the notion of this entry. REMEMBER YOUR ABC's! By the time your 25 (according to more recent brain studies), your brain is fully developed. So, while I may be able to excuse my teenage students (and my own kids) for, at times, questionable choices; I have a much more difficult time doing so with supposedly functioning adults.
The notion of ABC is to "think beyond" the letter B to foresee possibilities lying in wait, at C. Let's take an example from my road trip shall we? Let's assume Driver A going 80ish mph on Interstate 75 at 12:30am, as our character. As they drive . . .
A. They feel they must thumb attack away while looking at their phone to send whatever particular message that they feel must be sent then.
B. They feel the sense of satisfaction, relief (or whatever) having taken part in this message bonanza.
NOW LET'S LOOK AT THE IMPORTANCE OF C.
It's possible, if they thought down the line (to C) just a bit further, they may have decided that the text should either wait (or if it must be sent), to safely pull over and take part in the conversation. Why? Here is a possible C scenario that if pondered, may have allowed said individual to act differently.
C. While looking down at the phone, the individual causes a serious accident. Another driver is injured or worse. The police officers access your phone and put together that you were texting while driving and thereby not paying attention to the road. The result? That individual is proverbially screwed. Say goodbye to your licence; say goodbye to a great deal of money for litigation costs; and possibly say goodbye to your freedom. And this is just the beginning.
In essence, I hope A and B were worth it.
While I don't text and drive, I do practice my ABC's often. I run through scenarios in my head while teaching, racing or simply during life experiences. Let's take a race scenario.
A. During the 2.4-mile swim, I want to pass this guy in the water to show him I'm a stronger swimmer than him. In racing, it's called "breaking" your competition. Basically, letting them know they'll be looking at your backside the entire race.
B. There, I passed him. Boy, I showed him!
C. I've expended way too much energy and am now exhausted on the 112-mile bike, where he passes me anyway. In essence, I've blown my entire race.
Or, in the classroom . . .
A. I'm in a cranky mood and Student A is not behaving well.
B. I yell at Student A.
C. Student A cries and now I have to deal with guilt and an angry parent.
The point is that if you take the time to think beyond A and B, you can often make much stronger and wiser decisions. It all comes down to a wonderful F word (no not that one!). FOCUS. As defined, focus is the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.
Therefore, let's rewind back to my family trip. My "focus" or clear visual was getting my family to our intended destination, in a safe manner. Anything that derails that vision I avoid. Let's see this in action.
A. A distracted and texting driving swerves into my lane and almost clips my truck.
B. Since my "focus" is to get my family to our destination safely, I do not do what my first B inclination is, which is to let this driver know what I think of him.
C. By not engaging with the other driver, I simply continue on my way (although a little shaken). By not engaging, my C has turned out okay, allowing my "focus" to stay true. However, if I had engaged in a different B, the C's could have been a number of negative outcomes; all of which would not help in my clear visual of arriving safely, at the beach.
So, the next time you are tempted to engage is something you know may not be in your best interests or part of your primary focus, run through the ABC's in your head. By doing so, your chances have greatly increased in succeeding in what you are/were hoping to achieve.
Sing it with me! A, B, C, D, E . . . well, you get the idea.