Stop, collaborate and listen!

Stop! But what’s this you say? Collaborate and listen as well? Anything else?!

When faced with a difficult decision, situation, or confusing crossroads, it can be very difficult to know what to do, who to listen to, who to ignore, and whether to trust our head or our hearts. It is often at this point where there is that much going on around us that we can’t work out what we should do. A really difficult scenario needs to have the right decision applied to it, and a truly thought out response worked out. We could read about what some of the world’s best philosophers and great minds have to say about it, or we could go a more fun route and see what some other sources have to say to help and advise us. Belt up, here we go….!


In Vanilla Ice’s hit debut single Ice Ice Baby, way back in 1990 he uses the line ‘Stop, collaborate and listen!’ He wants to grab our attention, he wants people to pay attention to what he has to say, odd for a rap singer I know, but he is about to treat us to some of his wisdom in this his first single, whether we want it or not!

Meanwhile some years earlier in the ‘Green Cross Code’, we were being told to ‘Stop, look, and listen.’ The basic premise of which was before you act, make sure it is safe. Look out for what is coming and listen out for anything that is hazardous. And this was for much more important reasons than listening to what Vanilla Ice wanted to tell us!

Fast forward through to the 1997 hit ‘Stop’, the Spice Girls were singing ‘Stop right there, thank you very much, we need somebody with a human touch.’ They also told us to ‘Slow it down, read the signs, so you can see just where you are going.’ 

And it’s from these three scenarios where we can take something useful out of their words … as well as know how to cross a road without getting squished. Ok, just one of those three examples will improve road safety, well maybe two, but definitely not Vanilla Ice!

When we hit a crossroads in our lives or decision point or a time in life where we need to make a change, it’s now when we need clarity, where we need to find that peace of mind to make the right choices. It’s all well and good knowing you need to make an important decision but it’s often at those times when clarity is sadly missing. We are often stressed, impatient, irrational and worried about what happens next. All these are understandable and that is despite folk saying the usual ‘don’t worry’, or ‘it will be ok’, or whatever they think may be helping.

Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice

What does Mr Ice say? Well as we know, he says ‘Stop, collaborate and listen’. Well, despite it not being strictly what he intended, this can be used. Motivation can come from the most unlikely of sources after all!

· STOP – yes, stopping whatever is happening at the time, stepping away from the scene, looking at the situation with some context, taking that time to slow the momentum of events.

· COLLABORATE – yes, good. Work with others, seek feedback, look to work at options, find that route forward, seek the wisdom of others, allow their enthusiasm to ignite the energy within you.

· LISTEN – Yes, but not necessarily to our frozen rapping buddy! Listen to what is inside you, listen to your heart, use that wisdom your friends gave you, hear the sensible choices and find the path that will help you manoeuvre forwards. It may not be leaps and bounds but step by step you can move around or past the obstacle.

Green Cross Code
Green Cross Code

What does the Green Cross Code say? It says ‘Stop, look, listen’. Well, with all advice it can cover a world of areas if phrased well. But the actual specifics of what the message says can lead us somewhere useful too.

· STOP – yes, again taking stock of the situation, having that peace and calm of mind and state to be able to review constructively.

· LOOK – but not just looking, seeing too. There is a lyric in the Faithless song ‘Reverence’ that says you don’t need eyes to see, you need vision. Looking to see where you want to be, having that imagination to look at possibilities, seeing your long term goals, viewing the landscape and where you want to see yourself on it. This longer range vision as well as seeing your current standing position will hopefully inspire you to look at the end point and show you what you are working to. The traffic jam on the motorway may be where you are in now, but imagining the beach at the end of the journey will help you get through the traffic jam on the way there.

· LISTEN – hearing out for hazards, those concerns that you have will need addressing and those risks need mitigating. Clarity often comes from silence, safety is away from noise and distractions, vision can be realised when those distractions are set aside and you can concentrate on developing your next steps forward.

Spice Girls - Stop
Spice Girls – Stop

What lyrical magic do the Spice Girls come up with about this then?  Well at least they are offering something more interpretable this time than zig-a-zig-ah! Even if the wording of what they meant was for a different situation, we can certainly make something useful out of their lyrics and apply their worldly wisdom to a situation where we need to make a decision about our next steps forward.

· STOP right there. Good to see that the Spice Girls listened earlier on to Vanilla Ice and I agree here, that stopping is a good thing. Let’s not snowball further on down a route without us wanting to.

· THANK you very much. I feel it is important in all scenarios to be thankful and grateful to where we are currently at. Gratitude and thankfulness enables us to appreciate those who are there for us, and for those who care for us. It also enables us to highlight those who value us and add something positive to our lives rather than the opposite. So being thankful helps identify the difference and any gaps around.

· We need somebody with a HUMAN TOUCH. A lot of things nowadays have lost the human touch, the interactions with people, the kindness and thoughtfulness that gets lost or at least hidden in today’s busy life. But when you strip down to the core of issues, there are people who are naturally helpful, naturally willing, naturally kind and then those who aren’t as keen to step forward when people need. Simple lives are happy lives a lot of the time. Thoughtfulness and kindness are free emotions that can be given out at will. Looking out for examples of these help us to see things from a different perspective, we can look at what actually matters, and remind us of what we need, rather than what we want.

· SLOW it down.  Full on fast decisions have the potential to go messy if they aren’t thought out and rationalised. Obviously not everything that is decided on the fly will go kaput, but a steady step by step approach is often the better option when there is uncertainty and consequences can be closer managed as they occur.

· READ the signs. Retrospective views of a scenario often highlight certain signs that we just can’t see at the time, for a multitude of reasons. Which is why slowing things down, helps us to read the signs and see what is happening, see how people are behaving and looking at things with a greater sense of perspective.

· So you can SEE just where you are going.  Again this backs up what we got from the Green Cross Code, and looking to get the longer view and see where we are heading rather than looking at the current situation.

So, while we may be facing a difficult scenario, a tough crossroads where each choice seems grim, we can find answers and ways to handle issues and decisions from the most unlikely of sources. If you are going through something tough and tricky, you may want to look at some of the point raised in this piece. If you know someone struggling or needing a hand or some guidance, you may want to consider some of these points as you try and help them see that they can get to that happier place and that they can find that strength and inner peace to find their way.

Someone to simply be there...
Someone to simply be there…

Good luck, and try and be there for someone who needs a friend, you never know when it may be you who needs that help in the future.

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