I have been deep in thought and reflection this week. On Monday the niece of my very best friend was killed in a car accident. Her two young children were hurt but survived. The person who hit them was 18, and ran a stop sign. I saw a post on social media that showed the road this happened on. In the post the person was commenting on how the stop sign was somewhat covered by a tree and maybe it was missed. Right before that stop sign, a few yards before, as per usual, there is a warning sign showing a stop is coming up. Whether the tree was covering the stop sign, to where you can’t see it until you are almost to it or not, there is a warning sign. I am also speculating that this young driver has driven this road a time or two to know there is a stop that and cross traffic doesn’t stop. So was this 18-year-old driver distracted or reckless, either way it brings to mind this idea of distraction.
I say all that as a precursor to my thoughts on being distracted. If you don’t know I work from home and homeschool, so it isn’t an everyday occurrence for us to be out and about. I went out today to get our groceries and had our children with me. As I drove, fully alert as to what was happening around me due to being hyper aware right now, I saw so many distracted. But the distraction isn’t just in our vehicles, while this is probably the one place we shouldn’t be distracted.
We are distracted by our phones, the radio, the TV, work, our kids, our significant others, the endless list of things we need to be doing. I am guilty of this and you are guilty of this. The question at hand is how do you become aware of the distractions and how do you change your awareness? For me it comes down to priorities and the slap in the face that these distractions can ultimately be the cause of something terrible happening. I know we don’t like talking about negativity and bad things but the reality is, if you don’t become aware of when you are getting distracted and navigate away from that, bad things will happen.
I can’t write in this blog the key and what the answer is for you. We are all so different and are distracted by different things and at different times and levels. What I can say is, become more aware of how you are acting and responding throughout your day. How often are you driving the same roads day in and day out to where you say, “I could do this with my eyes closed.” It is that mindset that means you are distracted and not aware. How often are you just going through the motions of your daily life? The moment you stop and think how did I get here or when did I do that, you are distracted. Back track a little and see where you went off track. Where did your mind shut off or shut down, was it distracted and thinking about the next thing you need to do. Did your phone go off and that made your priorities shift to be aware of the phone and not what you are on task with? Did the kids ask a question or distract you? Once you are aware of where your mind shifted and what caused the shift, you can choose to learn what distracts you and with that you can begin to train yourself to notice that trigger to ensure it doesn’t take you off track.