Ever found yourself traveling a highway and suddenly the fog overtakes you? You turn on your lights and bounce back and forth between the low and high beam trying to see what lies ahead, but no matter what you do you are lucky if you can see your dashboard.
So, what can you do? Slow down? Pull off the road and wait? Or find another route or direction? When you think about it – the fog is now in control of your life and you have few options other than just accept what is on the road ahead or take an appropriate action that will ensure you don’t have an accident or get really lost.
In many ways, people often face a fog in their life struggling to see and even know what lies ahead, but in the end, there are few options at least ones you are not happy about. Been there? Wondering what to do or even how did I end up in this fog?
Fog is a trait of nature and there is little if anything we can do when nature decides to act in some way, be it a hurricane, flood or any other circumstance that we can ride out hoping we survive or emerge with our stuff and life intact.
But – the fog of life, now there is the contradiction. I like to refer to life’s fogs as nothing more than times in our life when we are unsure of actions to take, reasons for these circumstances or to find the learning as we struggle to overcome its many negative qualities.
There are many types of fog that plague us as we travel life’s paths; financial, relationship, health, career or business. But the interesting fact is that regardless of the type of fog you may be facing there are many common denominators in all of them, ones that we can’t often predict or even prepare for, but in the end, the key to each of them is to learn to act in a mature and appropriate way, take responsibility for our behaviors and attitudes and learn what we can while going through the fog with the purpose of better managing the future fog events or circumstances we are sure to face.
So, what are a few of the common causes of life’s fog experiences?
In no particular order they can be; poor decisions, emotional immaturity, the inability to deal in reality, self-absorption, self-righteousness, denial, arrogance, an ego that is out of control, a lack of trust or impatience which is a close relative of our need for control.
Let’s look back to your options when in a real fog of nature and relate them to life’s fogs;
Slow down – We are living in a time when most people seem to be in a rush to somewhere, anywhere and they believe that everyone and everything should honor their agenda and either get out of the way or accept the fact that my mission, tasks, desires etc. are the most important thing in my world and yes, your world too. Slowing down does not mean you lose passion, purpose or a sense of mission, but that you are willing to accept that there are simply some things in life we can’t control; a rainy day on your day off, traffic jam as you head to an important meeting or someone who doesn’t return a call or an email according to your schedule. Slowing down will often give you an entirely new perspective on a challenge, problem or situation that you might have missed as you speed toward your destination.
Slowing down does not mean you give up control of what you can control, but that you are willing to give up control to those circumstances or people that you have no control over.
And why would you want to slow down? Dah – it’s called stress and unmanaged stress will kill you. Got your attention?
Slowing down ultimately helps you respect and live life more fully and with greater peace and happiness and even success.
Pull off the road and wait – When fog hits an area it usually lasts for several hours. If you are on your way to work or on vacation do you really want to sit by the side of the road waiting for this period of time until the fog clears? I doubt it. When a circumstance comes into your life, is waiting the best option? Yes, no and it depends.
Yes – You can’t push the river, you can’t rush the hours of the day and you can’t know what lies ahead so waiting often is a strategy that makes sense, but only if you have seriously considered the consequences both positive and negative of waiting.
No – sometimes while waiting things can get worse that might have been prevented if you had taken action – whether health, relationship or financial step. The steps we take have no guarantees that they will always lead to our desired destination, but sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing – the challenge here is to do the right things in the right ways, for the right reasons and at the right times – not always easy.
It depends – OK, combine the above two explanations and see if you can come up with your own answer to this one.
Find another direction – Life ahead has many paths, detours, outcomes and potential destinations and none of us can ever and I mean ever, know-how any decision, action or choice will turn out, but life often nudges us to move in a new way or in a new direction without giving us the certainty of knowing the outcome. Been there? In looking back over your life wish you had done something differently? Not doing something you did?
This is life – with all its adventure, uncertainty and possibilities, but unless we act we can never know how something might have turned out. What does this step take? Trust? Yes. Faith? Yes. Courage? Yes. Confidence? Yes. Hope? Yes.
“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
Robert L Stephenson