Wednesday, 23 November 2011

You're going the wrong way!

This morning my car is currently sitting in the small office car park where I work.

Nothing particularly newsworthy in that, I hear you say, but it actually represents a painful lesson learned over the last 48 hours.

For the last 12 months I have taken the same route to work. It's a journey of about 15 miles across the outskirts of London and normally takes me about 40 minutes through typical stop/start urban traffic. I measure if I'm on schedule against what's on the Radio 4 Today programme at particular stages of the journey: To arrive at work on time I need to be in the car by the business news, at Tolworth roundabout by the sports update, and driving over Kingston Bridge by Thought For The Day.

I've been convinced that my route to work is the shortest and fastest that I could take, and I've disregarded advice from those trying to persuade me that there are better routes to follow.

But yesterday there was serious congestion in the early part of my journey, and I decided to turn back and try a different route rather than just sit in the non-moving traffic. I was surprised at how free-flowing the traffic was and, even allowing for the disrupted journey, I arrived at work at pretty much the same time as normal.

So this morning I tried an alternative route to work. Simply turned left at the first set of traffic lights rather than driving straight across. Yes, you've guessed it: the route is shorter, faster, more free-flowing (and also more picturesque!) than my previous one, and it also means that I get to work early enough to claim one of the few coveted spaces in the car park.

So here I am, wishing that I'd tried a different route a long time ago. Just think of all the time, petrol and money I would have saved by listening to the advice of others and not stubbornly believing that I knew best and that there was nothing to be gained by considering other options.

Extending this a bit wider, I wonder how many of us hold onto opinions, prejudices, convictions and groundless beliefs and constantly refuse to consider the views and insight of others? It's very easy to be so entrenched in a position that it would take much more than mere traffic congestion to get us to consider an alternative position. Realising that you're wrong about something isn't exactly easy, and often it makes you see that in the past you were a bit of a fool.

But to do so may well lead to something more significant than just a place in the car park!

1 comment:

  1. But then, as often happens in life, you have to experience the painful journeys to truly appreciate the journeys that are more rewarding.