What Were You Thinking?

We would probably be a lot happier if we could manage to think about what we're doing, at the time we're doing it.

Recently, I was very nearly run down by a woman driving a minivan in a grocery store parking lot.

As I watched my apparent doom racing toward me, I clearly saw that she (the driver) was looking away from the windshield, apparently fascinated by something inside the cabin of her vehicle.

Fortunately, I narrowly (miraculously) escaped an intense encounter with her front bumper. I shouted, she looked shocked, and we both went our way.

“What was she thinking?” I wondered.

The simple answer is: she was thinking about something other than what she was doing.

It seems to me we spend a lot of time thinking about things other than what we're doing: checking e-mail while we're talking on the phone, talking on the phone while we're driving our car, reading while eating, and so forth.

Perhaps we would be happier (not to mention safer) if we could simply manage to do what we are doing when we are doing it.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Cathy Goodwin

    This is SO true. It’s sad to see so many people interacting with their phones instead of engaging with their environment. I live in a big city without a car, but I used to take my phone or ipod when I walked the dog. Then I realized the dog didn’t appreciate being ignored and let me know in no uncertain terms! I’ve had some wonderful conversations with strangers who also left their phones behind and the dog behaves much better. 😉

    • Now that IS interesting, Cathy! Do you really think the dog knows? (I believe it, by the way!)

      • Cathy Goodwin

        I think she senses when I’m ignoring her! Interestingly, she’s very good when I stop and talk to someone in person. We’ve been together almost exactly 9 years and we read each other’s minds. So I’d say yes, she knows.

    • So true. I benefit as much from the time away from all the bustle…as much as I benefit from the walk, I think.

  • Wise words Ray! Thank you for this.

  • Ron Pitzen

    I use to think people were just so busy because of the choices they made — bigger house and the need that both parents work out of the home as a result. Both need a car. Bills, bills, bills! As I age, though, I believe most people are so busy multitasking at least in part because they are truly afraid of what would surface in their consciousness if they failed to keep their bodies and minds busy at all times. I wonder how many people are comfortable with silence, contemplative prayer (not the wrote format of busy prayer) and extended periods of time alone.

    • Good points Ron – thanks so much for adding your value to the conversation.

  • Kathleen Thompson

    Somehow I don’t think that when we reach the end of our lives we will say, “I wish I spent more time with my phone.” Yet the gravitational and adrenalin pull is so strong. Mine’s in the kitchen when I’m at home, and I find that I check it whenever I go down there. Am thinking of turning it off and hiding it in the drawer. 🙂

    • I heard it recently referred to as “chimping” – acting like a chimpanzee, bouncing up and down and exclaiming “ooh! ooh! ooh!”

      • Kathleen Thompson

        That’s a new one to me, Ray. Perhaps we should have the chimpanzee bounce up and down on the phone and crush it, like the old Samsonite ads.

  • I certainly can empathize with you…It seems everyone is busier with their electronic devices than who they are with. Statistics show driving while texting is worse than DIU in probability of having a serious accident – and most of us don’t DUI (I hope!)

  • Rick Carter

    It is so true and become so prevalent and is so wrong … truth is we are all we have! Thanks for pointing that out!

    • It’s kind of shocking to notice how many people are texting while driving. Or while talking to you.

  • Don’t get me started on this subject. I don’t like being angry, but this is one that shreds my nerves. In fact, I better stop now before I get all wound-up again. Lets just all be more mindful about our ‘techno gadget’ habits.

    • It is one of the few things that consistently gets under my skin. I’m working on it!

  • Micki

    Very, very true, Ray! We are so “connected” now that we are disconnected from reality, safety, and mindfulness!