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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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    Life Lessons From A Taxi Driver


    Stephen was my favourite taxi driver in Wales. The first time I entered his cab, he struck up a conversation and learning that I work in mental health, he asked me about schizophrenia. We bonded over the discussion and I was impressed by his free-spiritedness and efforts to make each ride a special encounter.

    On one of our trips, I asked him how he survived during the peak of COVID-19. The lockdown had affected businesses, especially taxis.
    “It didn’t affect me,” he said with a smile.
    I was curious as every taxi driver I had asked always lamented about that period.
    “In life, you’ve got to stay flexible, man. I drive everything – lorries, taxis, bikes. So, while the taxi business took a hit during the lockdown, I started driving lorries and that business was booming. I only returned to driving taxis when the lockdown was lifted.”
    I looked at him in awe. This is one man who cannot be held down by circumstances.

    Three weeks ago, Stephen was driving me to Heathrow when we struck up another conversation. I had just gotten off the phone with a nurse whom I was trying to help relocate to the UK. During the conversation, I had told the lady that she appeared ‘too chill’ for someone who is desperate to change her situation. Relocation is a big move. I can give you all the guidance in the world, but it is up to you to write your qualifying exams and pass them. I can’t do that for you. I felt she was dragging her feet and I told her my observation and the need to step up if she really wants to make the move.
    “Wheelbarrow syndrome,” Steve said, after the call ended.
    “Some people are like wheelbarrows. They only do things when they are pushed. If you stop pushing, they stop taking action.”

    His words got me thinking. A lot of successful persons are self-driven. They don’t wait to be pushed by another person. They believe that if they are doing to succeed, it is up to them. They don’t go about blaming the government, other individuals or their families for their woes. They hold themselves accountable and put in the work which success demands.

    Stephen is an example of a self-driven individual. He could have curled up in his bed and blamed COVID for low patronage, rather he chose to skill up and drove lorries during the lockdown. As a taxi driver, he goes the extra mile to strike up interesting conversations with customers and make every trip memorable. This gets him repeat business.

    Here are two key takeaways from my encounter with Stephen.

    1. Be flexible – adapt to your circumstances. Only the fittest, those who are willing to adapt and evolve, survive.
    2. Don’t be a wheelbarrow – become self-driven. Nobody owes you anything. It is up to you to make yourself successful. Put in the work.

    Thank you, Stephen. 🙏❤️


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