Have you ever gotten into a cab, Uber, or any car service and had NO desire to strike up a conversation. You get into the car and simply want to enjoy silence, handle a few things on your phone, and safely arrive at your final destination.
Last night was one of those nights for me. My wife and I had just finished a delicious meal at a local Cuban restaurant. We walk outside, our Uber driver arrives, I open the door for my wife, she sits down. I walk around the car, sit down, say hello, pull out my phone, and patiently await our arrival at home. While I had every intention to enjoy the ride in silence, a little still voice on the inside of me said, “Be Polite. You represent more than yourself.” I listened and proceeded to ask him my 4 go-to questions in a cab/uber ride. 1. How is your night? 2. Have you been pretty busy tonight? 3. How much longer will you be driving before you shut it down for tonight? 4. How long have you been driving Uber/Cab? Little did I know my Uber driver was about to remind me of three VALUABLE Lessons!
Meet Charles. Charles was my Uber driver last night. He is currently a student at Temple University majoring in Political Science and is currently studying for the LSAT. He is driving Uber with his free time in order to save up money for an upcoming Vacation with his friends after they accomplish something special this semester. While that may sound like a pretty normal life to many, here is what made Charles a special guy.
Charles is multinational. His mother is Mexican and his father is Haitian. He has several siblings and based on what I could gather from the conversation, he seems to be the youngest child. One sister is a doctor, another sister has her PHD, and his brother is a doctor as well. In addition to his family background, I also learned that he did not grow up in the US. Charles was born in Mexico then moved around to other places such as Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Montreal.
At this point I am extremely intrigued and seek to learn more. As our conversation continues, Charles shares that he speaks 6 languages and is teaching himself a 7th. I then ask, “How hard was it to learn English?” Charles then tells me how the English language was really hard to learn, and how he did not like the language. He moved to the states 2.5 years ago to go to college and did not know the language at all. His parents tried to get him to learn it as a child, but he didn’t like it and instead taught himself German. Because of this decision Charles had to learn the English language by immersing himself in the culture as a college student.
I complimented Charles on the resolve he displayed and then asked how difficult it has been to succeed academically and now study for the LSAT considering you are just learning the language. His response was powerful! He looked in the rear view mirror to make eye contact with me, as if he knew he was about to drop some knowledge, and said. “It’s simple. You just have to do it. It kills me to hear people make excuses for everything in life. I didn’t have the best upbringing but the one thing my parents taught me was that I could accomplish anything through hard work. I hate when people complain about their circumstances or make excuses for achieving their dreams. If you want it, go get it. No excuses!”
WOW! What a powerful word!
We continued to converse on the way to the house, but that statement really stuck with me.
Here are the 3 things Charles reminded me of last night!
- The Power of Influencers
Our lives are surrounded by organizations and people wanting to have an influence on our thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Daily we make conscious and subconscious choices on what influencers have an impact on our life. I am a firm believer that we are a collection of the people and things we surround ourselves with. Hearing the story of his parents, siblings and friends, it only makes sense that Charles would be on the path to achieve similar accomplishments with his life.
We are a collection of the 5 people closest to us.
Show me your 5 closest friends and I will show you your future!
- Our Experiences Shape Our Reality
Have you ever found yourself in an uncomfortable and unsettling situation? I can only imagine the uncertainty and angst he must have felt as a child. As the son of a Head High School Football Coach and Athletics Director in Texas, I could relate to Charles having to move and live in different locations… but I only moved around one state. Imagine – moving around the world, from country to country. Imagine the friendships that were short lived, the change in education systems from country to country, and the potential overall lack of identity that could come with such a nomadic lifestyle. Many might find this to be a huge obstacle to overcome. Instead, Charles embraced it and allowed these experiences to be feathers in his cap and badges of honor on his sleeve.
Our life is a collection of experiences used to paint a portrait of our future.
How are you using your experiences to shape who you will become?
- What Excuse?
Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes the ball drops in our favor, other times we end up on the short end of the scoreboard. How we respond in the moments of misfortune shapes the person we become. Charles was abundantly clear in explaining that life had been no crystal stair. He had to put in long and hard work to get where he is, and will have to continue to do so to get where he wants to go. Often times many of us are tempted to make excuses when things don’t go our way, when we fall short of a desired goal, or when the life we dreamed doesn’t seem to be the life we live. The truth about excuses is that they create a psychological barrier between you and your desired outcome. Excuses build walls that give us the “ok” to quit! Charles shared with great passion that excuses get you NO WHERE! You just have to put in the work and you will eventually get there.
What excuses are you making that are keeping you from where you want to be?
While I wasn’t expecting life lessons from my Uber ride home, I am thankful that Charles was willing to be a vessel. We each hold the power within us to craft the life we desperately desire. We simply need to remember:
- Show me your 5 closest friends and I will show you your future
- Our experiences are what we make them!
- Excuses build walls that give us the “ok” to quit!
Until Next Time! Be Inspired!