When I was a kid, I remember riding in the car with my Aunt Kim one night and learning something that stuck with me to this day. It was night time and we had just left from getting some groceries from Meijer. As we drove back to her apartment, we took a dark road with very little traffic. As we approached a four way stop, I noticed that Aunt Kim put her blinker on to turn right. As a young boy who couldn’t drive myself I i thought I was at least smart enough to know that this was to let people know that we were turning right. I looked around and didn’t see any other cars one the road behind us or even anywhere. I ask asked her why she put her blinker on when there’s no one around. She said to me: “Because its good practice for when somebody is.”
I accepted that answer for what it was back then because I was a kid and it made sense but It always stayed with me because there was a bigger lesson. Multiple in fact.
- Build Integrity – Ask yourself these questions: Are you the same person alone that you are around others? Would you still decide to not do that thing even if you knew no one would find out? By signaling even while there was no traffic, Aunt Kim was the same driver that she would be in traffic. This consistency in character is an example of what defines a person’s integrity. Building integrity is fundamental to living life handsomely.
- Form Good Habits – Practicing good habits even when when they aren’t necessary keep you sharp. Making something second nature decreases the amount of brain power you have to use to accomplish it. Imagine if you had to think about breathing. You probably couldn’t get anything done because you would be so caught up in making sure you have enough oxygen just to stay alive! When things become habit, you free yourself to using your energies toward other productive ventures. Aunt Kim probably didn’t even think about the fact that she used her signal until I mentioned it. In fact, she was likely on “auto” the whole time she was driving. Her mind was probably on what she was going to make for dinner when we got home.
- Cops Be Lurkin’ – Cops could be anywhere car off, hiding out, chilling with no lights on. I hadn’t thought of it then but the police will still write you a “failure to signal” ticket even if no one was around to signal to.
When we build good habits and situations come up that pushes us to break them, this causes an internal stress. This stress is an alarm that lets us know that our integrity may be at risk. Pay attention to this alarm and choose to keep your integrity intact. Also, rememeber to signal even when there is no one to signal to. It is good practice for when there is.