Lessons from the side of the road

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A few days ago I got a flat tire, just as I was getting on the freeway. Luckily I had roadside assistance, so within 30 minutes I had my spare tire on and was on my way.

But there was a problem.

It was 5pm on Saturday and all tire places were closed until Monday. Not ideal.

Turns out there’s a 50-50 rule when it comes to spare tires:

  • Don’t drive faster than 50 miles
  • Don’t drive more than 50 miles on the spare tire

So suddenly I became that driver everyone dreads – the slow one. You know the one – the one who is actually driving the speed limit or even worse, a whopping 5 miles BELOW the limit. I was suddenly “THAT guy.” I was the one everyone was trying to get around. I was the one people were tailgating…BIG TIME.

Surprisingly, what immediately came up for me was compassion. There was no way for the people ridding my bumper to know that my front tire was basically a training wheel. Which also means there’s no way for any of us to know what is going on in the life the driver in front of us when we are feeling impatient. Maybe they are driving on a spare tire too? Maybe they just got laid off or are suffering with an illness or any number of other things. Time to get our compassion on and give people a break!

The other thing that came up? Humor! A slight change of perspective can make just about anything hilarious. No matter who angrily drove around me, invariably I would end up side-by-side with them at the next light. It happened over and over again. Hilarious!

And the final insight? Life is a lot easier when you don’t personalize things. That guy riding my bumper with steam coming out of his ears? He’s not out to get me personally. In fact, I noticed that when those hot-heads finally got around me, they almost immediately started kissing the bumper of the next guy.

How might you bring more compassion, humor and distance into your next drive?

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