The Three 'I's'

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away …  Well it seems like it!  One evening some years ago now I remember watching a TV documentary about truck drivers.  I remember the interviewer talking to one driver about his job and the sights that he saw from his second storey office, way above the rest of the traffic.  One thing this driver said to the interviewer stuck like glue to me:  he said that accidents are only ever caused by three things:  Impatience, Ignorance and Inattention.  I think he’s right. 

I’ve been reviewing these three words each day as I get behind the wheel of my car.  How patient am I?  How competent am I?  How aware am I?  And then I started wondering about where else these three ‘I’s’ might apply.  How does our patience, awareness and competence impact on how we communicate?  How often are we impatient, ignorant and inattentive when we are with people?  At work and at home?

Most of us have our week full of work commitments to pay our way and ensure that our family, community and social obligations are met.  I guess that’s why so many people are ‘busy’ these days.  (Gosh I still have trouble with that word)!  How often have you caught yourself cutting a conversation short because you need to be somewhere else?  How often have you walked past someone in the street without saying ‘hello’ or acknowledging them?  Or ignored a call on your phone from someone?  Or switched off when you’re being spoken to?  How often have you simply been somewhere else in your head when you’re in the midst of a conversation? 

If we’re honest with ourselves and answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then maybe it’s time to for us to slow down and reconnect with people.  There’s a lot of publicity out there at the moment about our high suicide rates in our community and the huge demand on our mental health services.  Some of the anecdotes I have read from survivors and sufferers is that there’s a ‘disconnect’ between people.  They need to be heard and understood.  I think it’s time that we took notice of the three ‘I’s’ in our daily lives and reconnected. 

What would happen if we all stopped and made a little more time for our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues?  We all have places to be and things to do, however I wonder if they will make a difference 50 years from now?  Making the time to talk to someone may make more of a difference that you will ever know.  Let’s make the time to listen and truly hear what is going on for them.  Let’s find time to connect.  I think that’s what we’re missing in our families and communities and what could potentially make a significant difference in the lives of others.