Running a red light in order to theoretically save a few precious seconds is one of the dumbest, most irrational things people do. Yet we do it all the time, in business and in real life.
Hi I’m Holly G. Green, the Architect of Pause, thinking to thrive expert, and author of the new book, Using Your Brain to Win. As human beings, we like to consider ourselves rational creatures. But the faster the world moves, the less rational we get. And the more the world speeds up, the more we shut down our critical thinking processes and simply react in the moment.
Running a red light is based on multiple incorrect assumptions. The first, and most illogical, is that getting to our destination a minute or two faster is more important than our own personal safety or the safety of those around us. Another belief – or thought bubble, as I like to call them – might be that if we stop for the light, the car behind will plow into us. And of course there’s the old standby rationalization – I’m in a hurry, everyone else does it, so why shouldn't I?
When we pause to think about it, there’s no good reason for running a red light. We know it’s dangerous. We know it’s against the law. Yet we rationalize away the danger, tell ourselves we won’t get caught, and do it anyway.
Worst of all, the rationalization happens so quickly we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We simply stop thinking and react. And every time we do it, we train our brains to shortcut the thinking process and react in the moment, no matter how inappropriate our reaction.
We run red lights in business by doing the same thing – shutting down our thinking processes and letting unfounded beliefs, assumptions and thought bubbles drive our decisions and actions. As a result, we make critical business decisions based on all the things we assume to be true but never take the time to verify.