Life Lessons from a Las Vegas Taxi Driver

Last week I was in Las Vegas for the International Franchise Association (IFA) convention. I was running late for a dinner meeting a few blocks away so, instead of walking, I decided to take a taxi from the queue in front of the hotel.

As I slid into the back seat I felt a little guilty. The taxi driver, a grey haired guy with a beard who looked a lot like Kenny Rogers, had no doubt been waiting for some time and I expected an unpleasant response when I told him we were just going a few blocks. Instead he turned to me with a smile and said, “No problem. And what brings you to Las Vegas?”

I told him I was a psychologist and was to conduct a seminar the following day on helping people in business to work better together. He listened intently and then said a few things on the topic that made a lot of sense.

The Most Important Thing in Life

Many years ago, one of my mentors remarked that people with real depth and knowledge often fly under the radar — they just get on with their life, doing good in their own quiet way. It’s a comment that has stayed with me and this taxi driver struck me as such a person. So I asked him, “What would you say is your number one lesson in life?”

He eyeballed me curiously in the rear vision mirror and chuckled. “Why would you want to ask me that?” I said he impressed me as someone who had thought through his own philosophy of life.

“Okay I’ll tell you” he replied. “I call it Forced Patience.” I pulled out a pen and small pad I had pocketed from my hotel room to capture his explanation. Here’s what he said:

“It doesn’t matter what the cars or people do. I don’t take it personally or allow them to affect me. If I did every day would turn into a bad day. I don’t let the outside world affect me. If I did, the outside would be controlling me. If I am in control, the outside doesn’t affect me. So… and this is the power of forced patience … I can have a good day every day!”

He again looked at me in the rear vision mirror and asked what I thought. I told him I write a regular tip and that I would share his concept of Forced Patience in the next one. His name was Dan Wbema (pronounced Ibama). While the IFA Convention was quite good, and my seminar went well, I think the highlight for me was this very short taxi ride with a very wise man.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

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