If you live in the UK you could share in one of my particular frustrations: the sheer volume of signs on our roads. It’s like we have made an industry out of producing and erecting them, often clustered together within just a few meters of each other.
Even when driving at a steady pace, it’s difficult to take them all in, or remember and apply the information or instructions they convey. (Just to clarify, I do recognise speed limit signs – I don’t want my license revoked thanks to this blog!).
The signs are there to protect both road users and pedestrians, and I have no issue with the notion of protecting ourselves. But there is a danger that the more signs we see, the less we pay attention to them.
We sign to say we have read and understood the terms and conditions, when in fact we’ve done neither. There are too many of them to read, so we don’t read any of them – researchers in Norway found that, on average, it would take over 31 hours just to read the terms and conditions associated with the most commonly used smartphone apps.
The food industry has been putting nutritional information signs on produce for decades, to help keep people informed about what they eat. As that hasn’t resulted in making consumers any healthier, the response has been to add more information, more labels, more signs!
It would seem that the more signs there are, the less of them we see. We are not seeing the signs.
Are we all waiting for the ultimate sign? Do we wait till we crash the car to pay real attention? Do we get stung with a clause in terms and conditions before we read them? Do we wait until the heart attack before we start absorbing the facts about what we put in our bodies. We all encounter many “signs” throughout our lives, about good things and bad things.
And ultimately, we can all see the signs, if we choose to.
Continue using the excuse “I didn’t see the sign…” if you think it helps. Just don’t let it be too late before you realise that you are choosing an excuse.
Choose to see, choose to pay attention to your life. Write your own terms and conditions for living your life to its full potential.
Image credit: Sonja Guina