Who Is Pushing Your Buttons?

Road Rage Reconsidered

You’re driving down the road, and someone darts in front of you. You can "React" to the situation the way you always have–or you can "Create" a new response. The only difference between the two words is the location of the letter "C."

What does it mean to create instead of react? When we choose to react, we are basing our response on past experiences. We are letting others to "push our buttons." When we create, we choose the buttons. We choose to have a fresh perspective.

Every moment of our lives, we decide: choose the reactions with our own minds, or let others do it for us.

Think about how you can make a difference just by the way you drive your car. Another driver cuts you off. How do you respond? View what just happened as just a bump in your daily journey–with no effect on how you experience the rest of your day. Or put your foot to the floor and lean on the horn in frustration, allowing what just happened to totally ruin your day. If you "take it out" on the other driver, you are essentially also taking it out on yourself–and your vehicle which is an extension of you.

Change the way you respond to the cause, and get a different effect. But you cannot change the effect unless you first change the way you experience the cause.

Slow Down

We can easily get caught up in the fast lane of life. But faster isn’t always better, is it? Are you aware of the Slow Food movement? How do you choose what to eat? When you get hungry on a busy day, do you buy something without thinking? That’s the "fast food" way: gobble it down unaware of what it is doing to you in the long term while you are doing the next thing on your to-do list.

Or take a moment. Breathe. Consider the possibility of a meal that can be savored bite by bite–even if it only takes 20 to 30 minutes. Get out of the car and be present at the meal. Imagine how something as simple as that could create a different type of experience in your daily life.

How about a "slow car" movement in our "fast car" culture? I’m not saying that you need to go at a snail’s pace–but drive in a state of mind so you can enjoy all the things that happen to you. Drive with the understanding that you–and the other guy who won’t let you merge on the highway–are "perfectly human" and not "perfect humans." We have that power.

Why don’t you "C" how you might respond differently in the future when something happens unexpectedly? Are you going to Create or React? The choice is always yours.

Andrew Grant is the world’s first hybrid taxi driver. He introduced his Prius taxi to the not-so-mean streets of Vancouver in 2000, and logged 200,000 miles in just 25 months. Andrew’s Prius was snatched by Toyota. The automaker wanted a chance to study the durability of the hybrid batteries and other components, which held up amazingly well. See this video for details. He’s now driving his third Prius. Andrew has taken a break from taxi-driving, and now works as a professional coach helping his clients achieve personal excellence in various fields of endeavor.

  • rafael_g_seidl

    Insurance companies would be wise to base their premiums on powertrain rating divided by vehicle weight. They should also offer for-fee hands-on classes on optimal driving techniques – including early gear shifts on a manual transmission – and give discounts to customers with passing grades. These would be especially valuable for young, inexperienced drivers.

    Accidents are rarely the result of mechanical failure. Usually, the driver simply has more available power than he or she can really handle.

    Driving pleasure is a state of mind, not just a function of how quickly you can go from 0-60mph. Unfortunately, car dealers feel compelled to try and sell you an engine upgrade because it’s hard to put a price on Zen.

  • Guest

    The authors of “speed kills” the landmark study that was used by Jimmy Carter to justify reducing the speed limit to 55 MPH setout a few years ago to prove their case once again. What they found was that the highways with 55 MPH speed limits had significantly higher dead and accident rates than the 65 MPH highways. Other than speed limit the highways studied were equal. The reason according the report was that the distribution of speeds was far greater on the 55 MPH than the 65 MPH roads. Most accidents result between the “easy does it” types and the racers. The slow guys are as much to blame. I’d like to have the speed limits raised to 80 MPH so that I can enjoy life at home or with friends and not on some highway. The distribution of speeds on an 80 MPH highway would be narrow indeed.
    But I think it is best just to let evolution do its course and slowly remove the slow and fast guys from our gene pool. Just like people should be allowed not to wear seatbelts. Again the smart will inherit the earth. Evolution is a great process! The smart ones flow with traffic and observe the patterns as usual proper lane placement is far more important to getting home fast and safe than racing around cars looking for every momentary advantage.

  • Guest

    Let’s not miss the point of this article: Consciously choose to avoid road rage and you’ll be a happier person, overall.

  • vincent.belovich

    The smart will NOT inherit the earth–the wealthy will.

    I also think people should lighten-up when driving. Road rage is a bad thing and doesn’t help any situation. However, road rage is usually triggered by something, and that something is usually some other driver doing something “bad.” To me the problem is bad drivers: driving too slow, too fast, in the passing lane, not using turn signals, cutting people off, etc. If you get rid of those folks, we’d all be better off.

    I would like to suggest that instead of police targeting speeders, target the people who are causing accidents. The people who don’t obey the rules of the road, the ones who drive in the passing lane without passing, etc….. Let’s get those folks off the road first. There will probably be less speeders then because we didnt’ get stuck behind somebody who wouldn’t let us pass!

  • John S

    Slow? Well, considering the speed of the mind; “depends upon the right and left cerebral cortex AS WELL AS (emphasis mine)
    spatial cognizance” (Amercian Association for the Advancement of Science; 1966).