Last week, I had one of the more interesting and amazing conversations I’ve ever had with a cab driver. His name was Husamettin. I’ve been in New York for the past week for a series of client meetings and interviews related to the launch of my new book. On the way to one of those interviews, I was talking with Husamettin about how he stays sane navigating the crazy traffic of Manhattan. He told me that he has been driving here for 30 years but if he hadn’t changed his approach to his job 25 years ago he probably wouldn’t even be alive today, let alone driving.
For his first five years behind the wheel, he told me, he used to lean on his horn, yell and stress out every time he was cut off in traffic. Years of that kind of stress led to stomach ulcers so severe that he couldn’t even take a sip of coffee or orange juice without it feeling like someone was sticking a knife in his gut. He chose to make a change that likely saved his life.
“I decided I was going to wake up smiling every morning and keep smiling throughout the day. I wanted to start enjoying life again,” Husamettin told me. Based on the way he engaged with me and the fact that I had the smoothest, most pleasant cab ride I’ve ever had in New York City, I’d have to say that smiling and relaxing is working for him.
It was really a beautiful way to start a couple of weeks of activities related to the launch of Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative because it was such a perfect illustration of what I’m writing about in the book. So, Husamettin, thanks for the great reminder that simple, mindful choices can not only make life feel less overworked and overwhelmed, they can save your life.