I got a parking ticket the other day. I should tell you that I’m normally very good, very careful, an ‘honest to goodness’, accepting of the ‘user-pays’ philosophy type of gal.
This particular time however I had the choice of being late for an appointment, or playing the odds and seeing if I could have my cake and eat it too. I did a quick mental risk analysis and decided I’d play the odds, figuring that making a positive first impression would be with the $15-20 ticket if I should be unlucky enough to get stuck with one.
So, OK, they did indeed stick it to me (well, to my window screen actually) …. And it wasn’t $15, or even $20, in fact it was a $40 infringement notice!! ‘Fiddlesticks!’ I thought when I saw the amount, or words to that effect!…
If I’m honest, I didn’t really think it would happen and that was a big factor in my decision. For some reason I thought the universe would with some great karmic understanding recognise that this was me: ’Ms well-meaning, upright citizen, not in need of a financial reprimand’ and somehow make the parking warden decide to not walk down that street at that time (as they probably do every day). Crazy huh?
Points To Ponder…
The story illustrates some interesting points to ponder though. Here’s the lessons or useful ‘rules of thumb’ that occurred to me:
1) If you’re gonna take a risk, be willing to take the possible consequence – and
2) Be aware that sometimes you can’t foresee the totality of the consequences!
3) Your expectations create your perception – If I hadn’t put the $15-$20 trade-off in my mind, $40 may not have seemed so extreme.
4) (And most importantly) you can focus on the details, or the big picture. In most situations you can choose to be the victim or the victor. Yes, I had to pay the fine (‘victim’), but even at twice as much as I had anticipated, I still don’t regret the decision to choose promptness and good first impression over some money in my wallet. The big picture view, and clarity of purpose and values leaves me feeling solid in my decision (‘victorious), rather than foolish or like a victim of bad luck/timing.
One More Lesson…
And finally, I learned that while the world might care how good, kind and well-meaning you are, and karma may well affect our everyday lives – it didn’t have squat over the parking warden that day! lol (thought I’d finish on a light note).
I know this is a light-hearted post, but it’s amazing the different lessons people take from every-day experiences and I’m interested to see if you take any other learning’s from my experience. So, do feel free to share your comments/thoughts! Cheers!