Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week or so, you would be very familiar with the story that is gripping my home country.
Our hero, Oscar Pistorius, has killed his girlfriend.
Now I’m not here to judge anyone so I’m not going to say anything about my thoughts and theories, lest I get into trouble for what I have to say. Whether he is innocent or guilty is up to the courts to decide.
What interests me, and truthfully scares me, is how one split second of a bad decision can change your life irrevocably.
For me, it was like looking into a really scary mirror.
I know that there are times that I get angry and in that moment, I have to decide whether it is worth acting on my anger or not.
And when you are really angry, you are acting on adrenalin and not common sense. If I didn’t pause to consider the consequences of my actions on a few occassions, then I would probably be in trouble.
When I was little, I was told to count to 10 before I reacted to anything. For me, it is more like having to count to 100 in order for me to calm down. For others it could be a few minutes or even hours.
We need to take this lesson from Oscar Pistorius and the many other fallen heroes that we will and we can choose not go down the same path because we made a stupid mistake that we can’t undo.
There is also a possible positive side to split second decisions. How often do you decide not to do something and then you wonder if you should have stopped and done it after all. But then it is too late? And you obsess about the what could have happened or what would have been different.
I saw a programme on TV (as one does) about emergency calls. A woman walked past a car and saw that the person in the car seemed to be in distress. She decided in that moment that it was none of her business and that she would walk on. Then she thought about it, turned back and called an ambulance and ended up saving that person’s life.
When you are in a situation, any situation, just take 10 seconds before you make a decision. Rather than acting impulsively. Should I or shouldn’t I? And if you are going to endanger yourself or someone else, you shouldn’t. If you are going to save or help yourself or someone else, you should.
10 seconds can make all the difference, and a life lived with far fewer regrets.
And I’m sure that you will agree that sounds like a good way to live life!