10 Life Lessons From The Highway

Our journey through life is like traveling along a highway. You never know what you will encounter as you travel along.

We’ve all traveled on a highway at some point. Highways are a complex interconnection of speed limits, weave zones, speed bumps, detours, etc., all while ensuring your ride is road-worthy – meaning fit to be driven, insured, and has fuel, while navigating the different ‘crazy’ motorists we unavoidably have to contend with on the road.

Depending on whether we are pedestrians or motorists, our perspective of the highways is different. Navigating the highway, especially as motorists, requires a basic understanding of our vehicle, reading and interpreting the road signs, staying in our lanes, all while anticipating what other road users might do.

Without a careful plan of our route, we could experience significant delays, or even end up somewhere we did not intend to be. Sometimes we might find ourselves in ‘hostile’ territory with craters masquerading as roadways.

All in all, our experience on a highway provides a perfect metaphor for this thing called LIFE. Join me as I explore this thing called LIFE from the perspective of our experiences on the highway: 10 Life Lessons from the Highway.


If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know that you have reached?

This sounds confusing, but it is true. If you don’t know what you want to be in life, you will not be able to put in place the appropriate plans to get there. Without a plan it becomes impossible to know when you have reached where you want to be.

Life comes with countless decisions to make such as college, career, or job options to choose from, and they all require choosing the appropriate route.

O. N. Rowe

While it might be difficult to identify or even prepare for what you would consider the ultimate career for you, it is important to have some guide, even if short-term. It will mean doing your research so that you can make informed decisions, even if it is about establishing 5-year or ten-ten year goals.

If you are going somewhere for the first time it helps to have either a GPS or at least the directions whether on paper or in your head. Otherwise it becomes a case of ’So I am on the highway; now what?’

With a destination in mind you can then plan the best or preferred route for your particular journey’s needs. This helps to avoid undesirable delays and disruptive detours along the way.

inspiration Inspirational Thoughts

Life = Choices

Life sometimes provides us with lots of choices: sometimes between good and bad; good and better; or between bad and worse.

Choices are abundant in almost all facets of our lives. We are mostly free to make important choices like careers, jobs, religion, or life partners, and less consequential choices relating to matters such as which outfit to wear when, what colour nail polish or lipstick to buy, what to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner, etc.

Many of the choices we face daily are universally recognized, and personally demanded and enforced. Some are repetitive and routine, and are applied without much thought.

CHOICES IN OUR ACTIONS AND WORDS: A very important choice we make each day has to do with our actions and our words. Actions have consequences whether positive or negative. Some actions produce immediate rewards or consequences, others produce delayed rewards or consequences. In some cases our actions might provide direct benefit to others, but they are mostly beneficial to ourselves.

However, when it comes to our words, a little goes a long way. As difficult as it might be to do so, it is very important that we choose our words wisely…especially when we are upset.

Being angry tends to suppress any inhibition or concern we might otherwise have had, about the impact of what we say to others. In fact, in our anger, we tend to choose our words strategically, i.e, to have the biggest impact. We aim for their weakest spot, which we sometimes know very well, to attack.

We usually get over whatever made us upset eventually, and perhaps before long it fades from our memory. However, our words and the impact they would have had on the intended target will rest with them for a long time to come, and may well shape their future.


We should always keep in mind that for every situation we encounter we have a choice in how we respond. Yes – that part is entirely up to us. If we demand the right to having a choice about rejecting something that does not favour us, we also should, conversely, accept responsibility for any outcome that emanates from a choice we made.

If, in our interactions with others, we allow someone to aggravate us to the point where we react in an inappropriate or even embarrassing manner, again that is on us. To attempt to sidestep responsibility and say, or even suggest, that someone else ‘made me do it’ is nothing short of an attempt to deflect responsibility. Beyond that though, it suggests an admission that we are not in control of ourselves but instead, are controlled by others.

Choices, after all, have their consequences.


Life = Disappointments

Do not allow your disappointment to stifle your optimism. Take your disappointment in stride and renew your hope for a better outcome…next time.

Disappointments are an ever-present reality of life. Among the biggest sources of disappointment are:

⁃ Unmet expectations;

⁃ Finding out we are not as good at something as we previously thought;

⁃ Being let down by someone we trust;

⁃ Failing at something we feel we should not have failed at;

⁃ Not getting that job we feel we deserved or so badly wanted

We all have experienced disappointment in some form, and the list is too great to mention all the ways. It is often times greatest depending on the level of our optimism, or our level of trust in someone, or when we are overly confident in our ability to succeed. Sometimes we mistakenly feel that ‘our success is assured!’ Only to find out that it was not assured after all!

Accepting that certain outcomes are outside of our control helps us to move beyond the disappointment. However, we sometimes find it harder to do so when we feel we are to blame due to some act or omission on our part.

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision. But I suggest it is not that simple. Our actions tend to be informed by our past experiences and learning, and with fallible memories we sometimes go off course, leading to differences that can have major impact on subsequent outcomes. Put simply, nothing in life is fixed; nothing in life is constant; no specific outcome in life is assured (well except, they say, Death and Taxes🙂).

We take each moment as it comes, applying our best judgement in making our decisions, and while a certain outcome might be most likely, it is not guaranteed despite our best efforts.

Life = Disappointments. Don’t live in your disappointments; take them in stride and don’t let them hold you back.


Hope Rises

Just like the sun rises each day, may the HOPE within you be constantly renewed. Hope Rises Again!

Serenity in Adversity

It is not the extent of chaos around you that determines how serene you should remain; it is instead the measure of faith, maturity and patience that you possess.

It takes a special level of FAITH, MATURITY and PATIENCE to display serenity in the midst of adversity. Serenity is a state of mind and being that is worth pursuing.

Serenity does not necessarily mean the absence of turmoil, but a state of serenity keeps the turmoil outside.

O. N. Rowe

FAITH: Faith is having the confidence that the current situation, no matter how dire, will get better.

Consider the sun as it goes about its routine cycles. It is always there, hovering high in the skies. The rain clouds form and often fully cover the sky, suppressing the sun’s visibility. But the sun is still there! The clouds will NOT last and eventually they dissipate to once again reveal the sun in all its glory.

Similarly, if we manage to hold on long enough, better will come.

MATURITY: Appropriate response to adversity requires MATURITY. At the same time, maturity is an outgrowth of adversity. They go hand in hand. We all have our different responsibilities, shaped by our circumstances. Being excited about something today does not guarantee future excitement. At the same time, not enjoying something today does not mean you will not in the future. Having responsibilities removes the luxury of stopping something just because we are no longer enjoying it.

Serenity is possible even under such circumstances, providing we use the opportunity for introspection, recalibration and the determination of what is important to us.

Maturity looks different for all of us, but underpinning this notion is the ability to put our experiences and expectations in their correct perspective, thereby allowing us to demonstrate serenity in our responses to them.

PATIENCE: I have touched on patience in some of my previous posts, and it’s the main focus being on patience being the result of our challenges.

Serenity occurs where turmoil meets patience. When things are going our way, it is expected that we will be at ease, at peace and in a calm state of mind.

However, patience is what allows us to endure when things are actually going wrong. It is that state of being where we recognize that being agitated and upset does nothing to help our situation. Patience plays the long game.

Serenity is not merely the absence of turmoil; instead it speaks to the state of mind that allows us to remain in a deliberately calm and rational state of being despite things going wrong around us. It is about having the patience to remain calm knowing that this current situation shall pass.

In the midst of the chaos, serenity can be found – if you look closely enough. Yes there is an element of ‘Serene’ in this picture.



Starting by reading the instructions can help you avoid needless heartaches later

“When all else fails, read the instructions.”

Certainly not a safe way to go, but sometimes by our actions that is exactly how we approach it. Sometimes we can get away with it, but other times this can lead to disastrous outcomes.

When you purchase a piece of ready-to-assemble furniture or equipment from IKEA or other places, expect varying degrees of complexity in the way the instructions are presented. When followed closely and accurately, the outcome is generally assured. However, one misinterpretation can lead to a tiny misplaced part, which can then lead to faulty, and perhaps dangerous, outcome.

I have experienced that a few times, and usually the reason is my failure to read the instructions carefully BEFORE doing the assembly, and sometimes not reading them at all!

Trying to assemble something before reading the instructions is like shooting in the dark and hoping you hit the target.

O. N. Rowe

Unfortunately some of life’s biggest decisions do not come with instructions. Yes there might be guidelines that can provide options to try; however, there is no guarantee that following such guidelines will yield the outcome you expect.

As a Parent I know what it is like to be diligent in applying some ‘guidelines’ only to find that you missed the disclaimers that say: ‘Caution: following these guidelines might yield the same outcomes you are hoping to stop or prevent!’ Well that’s because ‘…they’ve never met my Child!’

Point is that life requires that we experience, and learn, a number of important things as we go along. We sometimes take steps to assure desired outcomes, but we will never know the actual outcome we will have, until we get to that point. We then have the opportunity to adjust some things as needed, thereby correcting some of those mistakes we previously made.

DISCLAIMER: As Parents our approach to raising our child(ren) often evolves as we get to ‘understand’ them more. However, we sometimes find that after modifying our own approach, our child(ren) suddenly change their minds about what they actually like, or really want, or what they think, thereby nullifying what we previously thought we had learned.

O. N. Rowe

Nevertheless, life is filled with unexpected outcomes that can serve to help us grow into better human beings. Don’t let your ego prevent you from – carefully – reading the instructions that are available. Yes, LIFE requires LEARNING.

Activities of varying complexities require some amount of instruction.