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What I’ve Learned From the Backseat of an UBER

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Several months ago, I retired from my 35-year career as a Health Care Executive. It was now time to explore some of the fun things in life, and so I began working as an UBER driver.

To me, this was the perfect way to relax. I would get a chance every day to meet new people, and have a brief conversation to hear what it was like to experience life from their perspective. You would be surprised what information people will tell a total stranger, given the right questions.

My first week, I picked up a gentleman who was suicidal. I pulled the car over… turned the meter off, and began an hour’s long conversation. We both wept together, as he expressed the difficulties that he was facing, without the glimmer of any hope or reason to continue living.

I simply listened… and listened…and listened again with my heart. Instantly, we became brothers, and began to discuss a plan to make it out of the dark cave that he was stuck in. His situation quickly moved from urgent, to a calm handoff to his therapist. He would be ok, and is ok today, as we keep in contact.

This was the first of many experiences that I would have with the riders of my UBER car. There was a common theme that developed as I continued prodding into the depths of their souls. Many people have lost their joy, and were no longer happy. They have been consumed with depression and anxiety. And, most important, they seem to have the feeling that no one on this planet cares about them.

          “Big deal… You’ve got problems. We all have problems. Deal with it!”

I have sensed that humanity’s “core emotions” have shifted over the past several years. We do all have challenges, and there has always been the need for us to take charge and work through those issues. But I do believe compassion, empathy, love and genuine concern are emotions that are disappearing from many living today. The light is flickering, and seemingly on the edge of distinction.

After a gentle probe opening the door for them to discuss problems, I’ve asked my riders, “So what are some of the things that you’ve found that help soften your difficult circumstance? Do you have a good support team? Is there someone in your life that you can go to and talk?

The answers were very prominent towards the negative. “There is no one. There is no plan. Everyone else is so busy, and doesn’t need to be burdened by my problems.”

On the flip side, there have also been a handful of riders who just give off a resounding positive, happy vibe. “What makes you so happy?” “I’ve just met you, and already you are changing my mood. How do you do that?” I just had to know the answer.

Would you like to know the reasons people gave me as to why they are so happy? What would you guess? They have money? (hint-they are taking an UBER). Perhaps they have great health, a wonderful job, or marriage?

Well, none of those were the answers I heard from the back seat of my UBER. They all stated the reason that they were happy is because they had made a choice… TO BE HAPPY!

Two riders come to mind when I think of the answers which were provided. The first was a young man returning to his home from working. He was infectiously happy. In getting to know him a bit further, he and his family had been homeless for most of his life. The “Road Home” in Salt Lake City, worked to get them in an apartment where they now live, and many of his siblings have found jobs.

His life sounded like it might be filled with depression…right? Even as he described being homeless, the experiences which he shared were very positive and happy. He was so grateful for the “teen program” offered through Road Home, as they got to go to a movie and a steakhouse to eat with other homeless teens.

He had chosen to explain his experience of being homeless through the same eyes which he sees everything else; looking for the good and positive in life, not the negative. This was a choice he had made early on… To look for the blessings in his life.

The second rider had a sever stuttering disorder. He desperately tried to get the words out without stuttering through them. So as not to make him uncomfortable, I just sat back and turned up the radio.

He kept asking me questions, as if he wanted me to engage him in conversation. I turned off the radio and asked, “What makes you strong enough to seek conversations, knowing that you stutter?” The wisdom began to flow from his lips.

His childhood was filled with classmates teasing him, which was hurtful and difficult. But what he had just learned in becoming an adult, is most people who hear him talk are actually inspired and impressed with his strength to continually try to have a conversation. He has seen this reaction as very positive, and a boost in self-worth. He is not just a person who some make fun of, but rather, a young man that is uplifting and inspiring others to work through their own challenges. In realizing this, he now wants to talk knowing he is inspiring others.

He is teachable and is learning to take a hardship, and see it in the setting of influence and help for others.

He asked me a question, “What advice would you give someone my age?” I replied, “Today, you are the teacher. Please tell me what you have learned through the difficulty of stuttering?”

From his conversation, I have incorporated his question into how I interact with new backseat riders in my UBER car. I now ask, “I’m certain that life has given you challenges. What have you learned from those experiences, or what advice would you have to share with me?” those responding have said things like:

     Your greatest competitor is yourself.

     Don’t compare yourself to others illusion on social media.

     You can climb a mountain by starting with just one step.

     Life is not fair through your own perspective, but your perspective is not always accurate.

     Nobody gets through this life without a challenge.

     Love is a strong defense.

WE can change our own lives today by following this wisdom. Most of us have our radar in our minds set to identify the hardships in life. Let’s change that to constantly seek out the things we are grateful for, and the blessings we have in our lives.

Let’s make a choice to be happy as a result of all of the positive things we are surrounded by.

And something which is blatantly echoing from my backseat is that Positive attracts Positive, and Negative Pushes Away.

If you are finding people do not want to be around you, flip the switch into being someone positive and watch what happens.

One last thought. With the emotional state of the planet diminishing, you can certainly stand out as someone to be admired. Do not let your light go out. Seek out those who need a listening ear. Express your love to others often, for this is sweet honey to their soul. We don’t need to have all of the answers to solve people’s problems, WE JUST NEED TO CARE.

We cannot change things that happen in Washington. However, our world consists of those around us, which you certainly can make an impact towards. You be the person who shines happiness and positive energy for those around you. I can feel it, and you will too.

I can promise you that when you choose to, “loose yourself in the service of others” you will find the happy life you are looking for… REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Much Love,

River



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