Take a Tuk Tuk

When was the last time you allowed yourself to Take a Tuk Tuk? …Let me explain.

I spent last week in Mumbai, India where the people are wonderful, the food is wonderful, and the traffic makes you wonder if you’ll ever make it out alive.

Cars, scooters, buses, rickshaws, bikes, pedestrians, and dogs all weave through the streets without the benefit of lanes, signals, helmets, seat belts, stop signs, or any rules of the road that I could spot from within the dusty belly of my “tuk tuk” (otherwise known as an auto-rickshaw, otherwise known as transportation the hotel does not recommend). For about an hour, I clung to my seat, bracing for an accident, but instead I found calm amid the chaos.

I turned my attention to the faces of the drivers, expecting to see rage or maybe anguish, but instead I saw awareness, alertness, and even smiles. How was this possible?!

Later that week, I found that my life was beginning to have an eerie resemblance to Mumbai traffic. Nothing was going as planned and all bits of control I had spiraled out of my reach. I felt the frustration and panic begin to creep in, but then I thought back to the tuk tuk drivers and their faces.

That’s when it hit me: the streets of Mumbai are paved with surprise. This is a space where anything can happen and it’s no more use getting upset with the traffic than trying to stop a waterfall. When we spend too much of our time in environments we can predict, we get hooked on the comfort. Then when something takes us by surprise (bad weather, a late date, an unexpected deadline change) we react with the equivalent of road rage. Our mood spoils, our blood pressure shoots up, and we become less effective at handling the situation (think Bridezillas).

So here’s a calming technique: when things don’t go as planned, Take a Tuk Tuk. Picture yourself weaving through the streets of Mumbai where the unexpected is the rule of the road, so all you can do is lean in and go with the flow.

And even if things are going perfectly, let yourself Take a Tuk Tuk at least once a month. Put yourself in an environment where anything can happen, then plug into the moment, and ride the surprise.

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