Would you like to interact with yourself?
Every day I book an Uber to go to office, and to return back home from office. If you happen to also be working in a city in India which is not your native city, you don’t have a car or you don’t know how to drive, I bet you do the same. Every day when I book an Uber, I really don’t know what sort of a driver I will meet. Will he be trustworthy? Will he know the roads well? Does he keep his car clean? Will he take me home safely?
You may wonder why I’m so concerned every day before booking a cab. Well, every day before I book an Uber to go to office, there is a chance that the driver I book first may refuse to go because I live in Delhi and my office is in Gurgaon, and he doesn’t want to pay the toll. There is a chance that the second driver I book may not want to travel long distances. The third driver I book may agree to go and finally help me start my journey to office. Some days are good, and the first driver I book agrees to take me to office. Some days are bad, and I don’t get a cab for almost half an hour. Some days, there’s a lot of frustration because I feel as if I was getting late for no fault of mine.
Today when I was returning home, I realized that the cab driver was actually inconvenienced by the route I was taking, but he still agreed because he didn’t want to say no to me. It dawned on me that all Uber drivers aren’t really bad. In fact, even the bad ones aren’t really bad. Every one is just human at the end of the day, and these people are just trying to make ends meet. It also struck me that every time an Uber driver gets a customer, the driver may be apprehensive about the kind of customer the driver gets. Have you every thought about the kind of customer you are?
Do you give wrong directions and then get angry with the driver because he miraculously didn’t take the right route? Do you make mistakes picking your locations and then still expect the driver to find you? Are you rude to drivers? Do you think they should agree to every whim and fancy of yours just because they’re serving you. Basically, are you the kind of customer an Uber driver would want to serve?
It’s easy to point our fingers at others, but how often do we really turn to ourselves, and ask ourselves how we might come across to others. If everyone around us seems to annoy us, is the issue really them? Well we may hope so, but we may well be wrong. Looking inwards is difficult, whereas pointing fingers outwards is always simpler.
Think about your daily interactions with everyone you may meet fleetingly — people who are not family and friends. This could be the waiter at a restaurant or the goods delivery person or the person behind the grocery counter who serves you. Does having a bad day translate into poor behavior towards others who may just be innocent bystanders? Do you behave rudely with people who serve you and who you may not meet again. We talk about charity and volunteering. But, before all of that, it is important to treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated. Think back to all the interactions you had today. Did you slam the phone down when a customer representative called you? Were you rude to the cab driver when he missed your stop and went a little ahead? Well, that probably wasn’t the best way to make someone else’s day a little better. Everyone is busy and everyone has a lot of things to do. Being curt and rude to others who are not in a position of power to counter you, speaks poorly of you.
Before charity, sympathy and donations, comes empathy. And, that is equivalent to putting yourself in the shoes of people you interact with. It’s about cutting others a little bit of slack and understanding their situation and hardships. It’s about understanding that everyone is human, just like you.