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Every morning, Alfred would complain about how stressful it was to drive to office. Heavy traffic. Inconsiderate road users. And the traffic snarls from accidents caused by some ‘idiots’ as he would refer to those involved. He would enter the office in a foul mood and take hours if at all for him to simmer down.

Know anyone like Alfred?

Mabel on the other hand never complained about how stressful it was to drive in morning rush hour. She would enter the office with a cheerful greeting to all she met, including the security guard, office cleaner and coffee lady. She was the life of the office and people gravitated to her good nature and cheery demeanour.

Know anyone like Mabel?

What was Alfred doing wrong and Mabel doing right?


To begin with, while Alfred sought out someone or something to blame—externalised his problems—Mabel internalised her responsibility, she looked within and took charge of her happiness. This was all the more remarkable, as she too used the same route taken by Alfred and, in fact, lived in the same neighbourhood.

This is how she ensured a stress-free drive to the office:

  1. Mabel departed from her home on time. She was never a minute late, for she knew in the morning rush, every minute—every minute—added traffic to the roads.
  2. She knew her route very well—in minute detail. Once she left her home, she would get onto the lane that entailed minimum lane switching. She would not switch lanes just to squeeze into one car length ahead, for Mabel knew this meant unnecessary stress and worse, the risk of accidents. When traffic slowed, she would remain in her lane. She had already factored in the time.
  3. She always filtered into lanes by getting behind the next car—not racing to cut in front of the next car.
  4. She always gave advance signals of her intentions and maintained adequate gap from the car ahead.
  5. If for whatever reason, traffic held her up, she will not let the delay irritate her into committing rash manoeuvres. On such occasions, Mabel would think of her loved ones and how much her safety meant to the people at home. And she would call in and inform her boss or co-worker that she was running late. She used a hands-free phone kit.
  6. Mabel practised safe driving. She took charge of her well-being. She always arrived cheerful at the office.

Be the Mabel in your office. And driving—even in rush hour—can be pleasant and stress free. You will be ready and calm and make good quality decisions. You owe this to your co-workers and more importantly to yourself.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***