Saturday, June 29, 2013

Left Lane Closed Ahead

When driving out to see clients I frequently take Interstate 93 to get out to them. Those in the Boston area know very well that 93 is home to two major things, the infamous "Big Dig" and major traffic jams. 

93, boston, traffic, salem, new hampshire, traffic alert, news, merging, traffic jam

Just as you leave Boston on 93 South the left lane closes and everybody is forced to merge. I drive this exact route 4-5 times a week and still run into the same problem. I get all the way over into the left lane and forget that I will need to merge back into the original lane I was coming from. 

Merging, sign, traffic, traffic sign, merging sign, anger, frustration

This typically causes frustration, stress, a small amount of time, and sets the tone for the remainder of my drive, "pissed off with a headache". One day I chose to do something different. Not only stay in the middle lane, BUT change to the right lane. My thought process was, "I don't want to deal with merging, or the lane that needs to accept and let in those merging assholes." 

This changed my world! I saved a very little bit of time, a lot of frustration, and actually had a pleasant remainder of the ride. Unbelievably different outcomes from just one small change. I realized quickly that individual's typically do 3 things when asked to merge:

  1. "Pumping the Breaks": Slow down to get behind somebody 
  2. "Pressing the Gas": Speed up to cut someone off and/or get ahead of somebody
  3. "Go With the Flow": Merge in line with everybody else when forced to come together.

These occurrences led me to form a theory, known as "Merging Syndrome".


Merging Syndrome 

Individual's that suffer from Merging Syndrome experience difficulty in effectively making important, timely, and valuable decisions.

  • Irritation
  • Mental Fatigue
  • Frustration
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Aggravation
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Use of the middle finger
  • Poor control of language
  • More extreme cases experience crying, blurry vision, and accidents.

These individuals are typically separated into three categories (although people can experience variations of them):

I. Pumping the Breaks: Individual's that pump the breaks tend to avoid making important decisions and procrastinate. This can result in increased anxiety levels, poor decisions, missing out on fulfilling experiences, and missing potential growth opportunity. Individual's that typically indulge in "Pumping the Breaks" value certainty, safety, and security.

II. Pressing the Gas: Individual's that press the gas tend to rush into important decisions without proper planning, readiness, and regard. This can result in poor decisions, placing yourself in high-risk situations, and increased vulnerability. Individual's that typically indulge in "Pressing the Gas" value variety and significance. 

III. Go With the Flow: Individual's that go with the flow tend to allow others to make decisions for them and lack regard for how this may affect them in the future. This can result in increased anxiety, feelings of being "out of control", lack of fulfillment, and poor sense of identity. Individual's that typically "Go With the Flow" value the need for connection. 

When making important, timely, and valuable decisions in your life it is important to properly prepare yourself for the mental and physical rigors that may come your way. Making these decisions hold great potential for growth, contribution, and fulfillment. At the same time they have the potential to cause anxiety, doubt, pain, and confusion. Learn how to prepare, adapt, and acclimate to your new environment to help ensure a smooth transition. 

If you or anybody you know is suffering from Merging Syndrome, please contact YouTime Coaching by emailing

*Merging Syndrome is not a recognized syndrome by the current DSM or any body of literature. Merging Syndrome was created by Jonathan Wolf, through his own life experience and presented to help others identify their decision making process. 

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