Is the mindset of drivers a reflection of trends in the society?

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Driving through Kuala Lumpur gets more and more stressful. The roads are constantly clogged, lots of honking and pushing each other away.

It looks and feels as if there are private wars going on. Looking into the cars, and observing the different drivers reveals frustration, anger and resignation. Only a few animated smiles or conversations. Many are engaged in calls or text.

Once the road clears ever so slightly, everybody accelerates like they want to model Michael Schumacher. It gets scary to observe the buses or lorries on the fast lane, in short distance to the car in front. If something happens, there is no stopping. Sometimes it seems as if the drivers of such lorries believes that the lorry is a small and versatile car, like the Kancil. I wonder if the parents know how fast these buses go!

Once in a while, when I come back from outstation, I can immediately feel, when I reach the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur – the behaviour on the roads simply become more aggressive.

I believe that the way we behave when unobserved, is the way we express our most inner desires. Moreover, when we repeat the same behaviour over and over, it becomes entrenched in our neurology. Basically, the behaviour becomes us and then we wonder how we became who we are.

The scary part is that we spend so many hours in heavy traffic. Isolated, sometimes alone, sometimes with a few friends, colleagues or members of our family.

It semans that the significance and personal value of others around us diminishes over time. To reach our destination fast, we beat traffic rules and ignore those around. And as we repeat this oftentimes, it starts to become our way of life – and might become our identity.

Malaysia was once known as a country where people can easily relate to each other. Everybody smiled at each other and it was a way of life to live and let go. Way back in the 1990s, traffic jams were defined at 3 cars cueing up at a traffic light.

Things have changed. Do we still care for each other? Sometimes I doubt it. I saw an accident recently. A car must have hit a motorcycle. The rider laid on the middle of the street, probably whincing in pain. The driver of the car sat inside, most likely calling for help on the mobile phone. Probably too scared to leave the car. Too many newspaper articles on how drivers were hit by other motorcyclists.

I was too far away to see the exact event. But I saw that the cars on the road did not stop. They moved around the motorcycle and the rider. May be this was an exceptional situation, but wasn’t it only a few years ago when people stopped to help, even if only to change a tire?

What has become of Malaysia?

The Language and Behaviour Profile (LAB Profile) is a tool of Applied NLP. Its strenghts is based on the fact that we while listening to the words that someone uses in a specified context, we know, how the person will behave in a similar situation in the future.

There are two patterns of interest that apply strongly to the traffic situation in Kuala Lumpur.

Firstly, there is hardly any interaction between the drivers. We all drive alone or are restricted to the passengers in our car. The LAB Profile defines this as Independent Pattern. A person that exhibits such behaviour likes to be independent from others in that specific situation. Entrenched in his or her thought, they do not relate to others.

Another filter of the LAB Profile indicates the way someone communicates with others. Is the person able to give feedback, open appraisal, performance management discussion or filters important information to others.

There is a small part in the population does not care about others and what others need to do or what others think. The emphasis here is on “does not care”. I see a strong parallel to the traffic situation in Kuala Lumpur as it seems that we do not care too much or at all for others around us.

Do we operate on autopilot when we move with our car in Kuala Lumpur? May be there are more parallels. There are more and more guarded communities in KualaLumpur. Isolated from the rest of the society. Individual houses have high fences, sometimes even barbed-wired. The contact with neighbours gets more and more lost.

It is a trend that needs to stop. May be it is a trend that is caused by fear. May be it is the limited time we have to communicate with others at home. After a day of work, and long hours in the traffic, people are tired and want to shut down. They are overstimulated sensorily. May be it is because we got so used to communicate via SMS, Facebook, Instant Messengers or emails that we have lost the ability to form mutual, warm and personal relationships.

I don’t know.

But do you like it? Make a change now, and start smiling to your neighbours. Drop a word every now and then. Do not fight on the road but start relaxing – let others go. It is a minute, or two that you might be delayed, but at least, you kept your sanity.

I am training in NLP. We have many Certified NLP Practitioners who, in the end of the workshop say that they believe that, if the world would know and use NLP, there would be less war more peace.

A great statement. A heartmoving comment underlying the power of NLP.

But still, I believe that we all have to contribute to make this world a better place. It starts here in Kuala Lumpur. It starts with you, the one who is reading this article. Accept your responsibility to make this place a wonderful place to live again.

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