Taxi drivers aren’t the same, and those in Johannesburg are quite distinct in how they interact with their passengers and the way they approach their work.
Yes, taxi drivers can be rude, they can be unreasonable and sometimes simply a pain in the neck – yet there are nuances in their approach that we can all learn a thing or two from.
Here are four things you can learn from taxi drivers:
Taxi drivers are persistent
If you’re walking and a taxi is about to drive past, you’ll never miss it because it will hoot at you until you acknowledge its presence and its request. While this can be seriously annoying – especially if there’s a myriad of taxis passing by – their sheer persistence is a great lesson to take away.
Patience and persistence are key drivers of success – knowing that not every door you knock on will open, yet continuing to knock on the next one nonetheless.
Taxi drivers aren’t afraid to say “no”
The taxi driver’s version of saying “no” isn’t the most compassionate of traits – because when one doesn’t have that R11 fare and you’re desperately trying to get home, hearing the driver cuss at you with a resounding “Hayi! Phuma!‘ is a hard pill to swallow.
But there’s a lesson here. Taxi drivers are never afraid to put themselves first. They understand the end goal of their service and to never be exploited by passengers. Psychology Today says the word “no” is “an instrument of integrity, a shield against exploitation, and it often takes courage to say. It’s hard to receive, but setting limits sets us free”.
“No” is often seen as or confused with intrinsic negativity. But there’s a clear distinction between these two.Psychology Today explains that negativity is a chronic attitude; saying “no” on the other hand is a “moment of clear choice”. It’s a sign of the truth, of maturity – the acknowledgement of personal responsibility.
Taxi drivers always stand their ground
Standing your ground is to maintain your position in the face of opposition, not allowing intimidation to put you in a corner. Taxi drivers are quite notorious for this. If you get onto the wrong taxi and realise it only at the end of your trip, the driver won’t be taking you back however much you feel you deserve it. It’s just not fair to them and they’ll stand their ground on the matter.
This lesson is particularly important in the workplace. It’s okay to be flexible on certain matters, but others – especially those that directly affect your reputation, integrity, dignity and livelihood – require you to be stern and to stand your ground.
Taxi drivers are personable
While it’s a case of different drivers for different folks, many taxi drivers have such agreeable, pleasing personalities that they’re able to bring out good energy from the people around them.
This is important for the workspace, because in any work environment you’ll need to learn to interact with others. Being personable is a quality that encourages connections and shows others that you care.