“Why didn’t I see that coming?” “How’d that happen?” “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?”
I was driving the other day and while stopped at a red light I looked over at the car next to me and saw a mother in the driver’s seat showing flash cards to her teenage son.
As the mom continued to show him the flash cards, he continued to stare out the passenger seat window at the sky. She began to shake them at him. Fed up and visibly frustrated, she threw the cards in the back of the car by the time the light turned green! Clearly this had been going on for a while and clearly she was angry that the boy was ignoring what she was trying to show him.
What struck me about this scene was that this happens to us every day. People try to show us something, tell us something, make us aware of something – and how often do we not listen?
The reality is that we more than often hear what we want to hear, or worse yet, aren’t present when the person tells us something that might just help us avert disaster – whether that is to our career, our finances, a relationship or our reputations.
I’m not suggesting we take every bit of advice from every person with whom we encounter. However, I do suggest that we identify the core people in our lives whose insight and feedback matter to us. These are the people who will risk telling us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear because they truly care about us. These are the people who will show us the flash cards while we are, perhaps, looking out the passenger seat window. They may even shake them to get our attention.
Ok, so here’s your sign … will you be that teenager and eventually have the flash cards thrown to the back of the car? Or, will you stop, be present and see and listen to what signs are being shown to you?
As with most things in life, the choice is yours!
For some additional thoughts on the power of being present, click here to read one of my favorite stories about my experience with Lenny Kravitz!