Ever leapt down a set stairs to an empty platform only to find all that is left of the subway car is a cloud of smoke? Ever sprinted down the High Street to catch a connection at Central Station that, unknowingly to you, left 2 minutes ago? I know I have. Timing like this could easily double the length of your commute and always leaves you in a foul, grumpy, mood.....until now.
So what is the secret to never missing a train again? No it’s not setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier; it’s not a physical trait that you can adopt at all. In order to never miss a train again all you have to do is change your mindset, a piece of advice given to Nassim Nicholas Taleb by a French compatriot and then shared with the world in his book The Black Swan:
Snub your destiny. I have taught myself to resist running to keep on schedule. This may seem a very small piece of advice, but it registered. In refusing to run to catch trains, I have felt the true value of elegance and aesthetics in behaviour, a sense of being in control of my time, my schedule, and my life. Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.
I've paid homage to this book in a prior blog post, but there's just so much golden information contained between its pages. This statement truly encompasses the psyche ‘living in the moment’ and not letting external factors influence behaviour. So what you didn't get that train! There’s usually another one on its way. People are constantly in a rush to get from A to B, scared that if they stop their goal will keep on moving. In rushing however, people fail to observe what other opportunities may lay outside their tunnel vision, dangling in the blind spot of the blinkers.
Life is about enjoying the journey, not about who can reach the end-point first. Next time it’s touch-and-go whether you’ll make the train, put the brakes on. You never know what doors this may open for you, and at the very least, the frustration and grumpiness will completely vanish from you commute.