Back to Basics

We’ve all seen those signs posted by elevators that read, “In case of fire, use stairs.” Today, and I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t sleep well last night or if it’s some sort of weird life foreshadowing, it started me on a train of thought that went a bit beyond the placard.

At first blush, the stairs would seem to be the slow way. After all, what if there’s a fire in the stairwell? One might argue that there must be another, non-flaming stairwell nearby which would still be smarter than taking the elevator. Fair enough.

We’ve become accustomed to technlogy, machinery and the latest development doing things more quickly, more efficiently. Taking what seems to be the slow way, especially when trying to save yourself, seems almost counterintuitive.

But when you think about the room for error in an elevator when time is of the essence, getting back to the basics is likely the best option. Thus, go with the stairs.

In times of crisis, we may find that we tend to go with a quick fix — we look for the elevator to get us out of a jam when the stairs are just a few more feet away and, while perhaps a slower process and one that leaves you more winded, might just get us back to a place of safety, of sanity, of security.

Money problems? The credit card is your elevator; a savings plan and strict budget are your stairs.

Relationship troubles? The silent treatment is your elevator; talking it out would be the stairs.

Job woes? A hasty exit is the elevator; taking your time finding the best fit for your next gig would be the stairs.

Tonight I am thankful for my strange pondering of the “in case of fire” sign. It was a nice reminder that faster isn’t always better, and that often times what you get out of something is exactly what you put into it. Hoofing it may seem tedious — but there’s much to be thankful for with each footstep.

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