The area surrounding Amsterdam is a landscape impoverished of natural features. The land is flat, and covered in grass. Canals of varying widths flank the highway and labyrinth through fields, towns, and city centers. The countryside is largely grazing land for cows, and sheep. With a land so uniform, variation must be introduced, and the Dutch seem to itch for individual expression. But rather than have an attitude about their individuality, people are easy in who they are, and tolerant of others.
Rush hour in the heart of Amsterdam is hectic. The narrow cobbled streets are flooded with locals riding their bikes. People on foot gently work past each other on the sidewalk, using caution not to step into the bike lane. Occasionally a bicycle bell rings to remind everyone of this. Tourists (like my wife and I) introduce turbulence to the flow as we stop to take in the beauty of the architecture and take photos. But the only people who appear frustrated by the commotion are the drivers in cars - and there are few of them.
We passed factories that had thousands of bikes parked in big metal racks outside. Sometimes a small parking lot for cars was nearby - just to compare how few people drove. I found it simply amazing.
What is the lesson in this? What we choose to focus on, and our attitude toward our focus shape our individual worlds, and the collective world around us. What will you choose to focus on today?