We get into trouble when we stop paying attention to people and things around us. That is how mistakes occur and accidents happen.
I remember an important lesson I learned while living in South Florida. Like most people, a yellow traffic light means one of two things, a sudden stop or hit the gas peddle. Back then, I would speed up. However, like most States, if the traffic light turns yellow before you enter the intersection you are to stop. Otherwise, you could get a ticket if a police officer is in the area.
I must admit that I hit a streak where I was entering intersections just as the light turned yellow or at least that is what I told myself. In actuality, it was a split second or two after the light had changed. However, there were no police to stop me and I safely made it through the intersections. This continued and I knew I was taking a chance but I would not stop.One evening as I was driving home I entered an intersection and the light turned yellow. I was in the intersection when that happened. I know that because it was still yellow when I exited the intersection. About 200 feet later, I see flashing lights in my rear view mirror and hear a siren. I am pulled over and ticketed for going through a yellow light. The officer was wrong. However, at that moment I realized how many times I had violated the law and gotten away with it. I accepted the ticket as a wake up call. I even attended traffic school which was the best thing I could have done. I am not a perfect driver by any means but that ticket got my attention and stopped my risky behavior. I am fortunate that something more serious did not happen. Why was I unable to stop before this? I failed to listen to the voice telling me to stop. How many times in life does something like this happen? Where people are telling us to slow down, turn this way or even stop. Yet, we fail to hear them. Fortunately, for me the consequences of my actions were not that severe. However, the lesson I learned had broader application.
Every decision in life has consequences. Some minor some great. You don't always know the difference so you need to pay attention to all of them. The minute you get comfortable, the light changes and you wished you had paid attention to the signals. Bob Dylan says it like this, "When you gonna wake up."