Safest Road To Hell…
I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest about how our instincts can fail us. The article described five different ways that our natural instincts can be harmful, even lethal. They were described as:
- The Domino Effect
- Double or Nothing
- Situational Blindness
- Bending the Map
The one that provoked the most thought for me was redlining. Two examples to illustrate what redlining is:
- A scuba diver sees an interesting wreck just beyond the limit of their dive tables.
- A mountain climber goes beyond their turnaround time, wanting to reach the summit.
When a situation requires a safety parameter, people will be tempted to overstep it. It is very easy for a person to think, I’ll just go over the red line a little bit. No big deal. Of course, very often, a little bit becomes a little bit more and then just a little bit more and eventually you realize you have gone too far but by that time, it may already be too late. You have ‘little bitted’ your way into that danger zone, the point of no return.
That’s the danger of crossing the red line. Once you have crossed it, there may be no other cues to remind you that you are headed in the wrong direction. There isn’t anything calling you back to the safe side.
This got me thinking. How often have I ‘redlined’ myself into trouble or unhealthy situations? How often have I sworn to myself… “just a little bit” and then later on, some time down the road, I turn back around, quite startled and ask myself; “Whoa… wait a second, how the hell did I ever end up here?”
I’m not necessarily talking about crossing physical red lines or physical safety parameters (although that has also happened) but crossing my own bottom lines, allowing my boundaries to be crossed, allowing myself to cross my moral and ethical red lines. It is the “just a little bit” thinking that leads me into real trouble. I should take a step back from those red lines and realize that. I need to be aware when I am tempted to redline and recognize the true danger I put myself in, if I do ultimately decide to cross it. Lessons learned.
Above photo credited to: filchist on flickr.