Like most Americans, pulling up to a light that is just turning red is horrible. It seems like your life goes on hold forever as you constantly tap your fingers and keep looking up, hoping for the other light to change so that you can get moving. Why are we so impatient? Why do we let this time become so negative and focused on why we are not moving? What is it about the red light that holds us from doing something more constructive?
The average red light in America is only a minute and a half to two minutes long. Yet, we treat it like it is a death sentence. We will never get to where we are going, and all these negative emotions and feelings come into play. It will help if you consider yourself lucky as there is an intersection in West Milford, New Jersey, where the red light goes on over five minutes. How would you like to experience that every day?
How do we go about our daily lives by commuting to work, running errands for the family, or visiting a friend or family member? We will run into red lights on the roads, train tracks, or subway tunnels. We will all experience a daily stoppage in our progression to get nowhere fast. Why do we put so much effort and energy into the time that we are sitting at a red light, questioning and hoping that we can change it by moving back-and-forth and screaming at the light? Are you hoping that something you can do will change that automated light?
In the end, I want to talk to you about these red lights. You can use those red lights as an excellent opportunity to see life. Imagine that with each light, you have the chance to engage in positive energy and momentum that you can bring into your career and your life.
I want to share three simple activities that you could easily incorporate into your red light routine to change your perspective and the opportunities that present themselves.
Imagine taking the one and a half to two minutes and just being grateful for what you have in your life. At the first red light, you could focus on three things you are thankful for in your life. At the next red light, focus on three things you are grateful for that you have had the opportunity to experience during the day. And at the third red light, take the time to say how grateful you are for the people you are close to in your life. In three lights, you will be amazed at how your emotions and attitude will change as you focus on being grateful and not getting caught up in hope the light will change. Imagine that at each light you share one or two things to put your energy into a positive spin. Turn up your emotions of gratitude and watch how you interact with people on the road, with people at work, and with your family when you get home. I know you will find a difference in how you are connecting and engaging with people once you begin this practice.
Affirmations are simple, positive statements declaring specific goals. Although they sound rather basic, these empowering mantras have profound effects on the conscious and unconscious mind. Repeating affirmations helps to reprogram the unconscious mind for success. This is an excellent opportunity to reinforce your positive statements about your work, children, spouse, partner, attitude in the world, or whatever you want to affirm. Here is one affirmation that I do daily: Purpose: My life‘s purpose is to educate and inspire the lives of others, starting with achieving everything I want in my own life and never settling for anything less than I can be, do, or have. I can pay it forward and learn through experience how to help others to achieve everything they want. You could say one or two affirmations per red light and say those repeatedly to reprogram your mind and prepare for success.
It is extremely beneficial to practice mindfulness for 30 to 60 seconds to focus on your day and where you are currently. Mindfulness can be done in a half-minute to help you refocus and gain clarity on where you are. I like to do my breathwork, focusing in and out on my breath as I watch the light. If I find myself daydreaming, I bring myself back to my breath. When the light changes, I will let go of my breathwork, and move forward. It is a great way to center yourself when things are going crazy. If you’re trying to get to work or get the kids somewhere, you are just in a rush to go nowhere; let mindfulness help you recenter yourself.
These are three activities that you could easily incorporate into any ride – in a car, train, or subway. You could easily alternate them between different lights or even between coming and going on trips. The best part about these practices is that they can be used at any red light. My focus for you is to change your energy from being so negative and worried about where you have to be and to get focused on the present and who you are. Enjoy each moment, and don’t let the red light suck the life out of you as it does to so many others.