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Is something better than nothing?

 

With a huff and a puff, he exclaimed, “are you kidding? I’ve got a family to feed and a sick wife to care for.”

This is how I was greeted by a disgruntled cab driver who was disappointed when he picked me up and realised the trip was short and the fare would be small.

The experience of sitting in the car with the ungrateful driver, even for only ten minutes, was gruelling. He ranted, raved, and carried on like a pork chop. You’d think I was trying to rip him off.

The irony is that when I arrived at the cab rank, he had just pulled in from completing a previous job. It wasn’t as though he’d been waiting in a taxi rank for hours only to draw the short straw with my short trip.

And to top it off, you can imagine how he reacted when I pulled out a credit card to pay the $15 fare. Words I won’t repeat.

Here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this way.

How you make people feel, when you do what you do, matters.

Without my fare, he had no fare. I was the only one around wanting a cab at that time. And who knows where my short trip would have taken him next?

Making the trip pleasant wouldn’t have hurt. It would have done him more favours than harm. Instead, it reinforced my preference for uber.

And it reminded me that how you make people feel counts, no matter what’s happening or how little time you spend together.

This taxi ride coincided with me finishing Dan Sullivan and Dr Benjamin Hardy’s book called The Gap and the Gain. The premise is that when we measure where we are relative to where we want to be, to our ideal, it can make us feel worse, not better.

This is because we’re measuring the gap. How much we’ve still got to do, what we’re missing, or what we lack.

Yet when we measure where we are relative to where we’ve been, we’re measuring the gain. The progress. What we’ve accomplished or achieved to date.

The gain is a more inspiring viewpoint because it highlights progress or shows improvement. It motivates us to keep going far more than focussing on the gap.

It’s a shame the cab driver didn’t see that $15 in his pocket was better than nothing. It’s a gain. Instead, he only saw the gap. How much less $15 was from his ideal fare.

So he cracked it. He behaved poorly and made the experience unpleasant.

It’s like the sibling who gets served the smaller piece of chocolate cake and, instead of being grateful for what they got, throws a wobbly in protest (because it’s less than their brother or sister), and no one gets any (sound familiar). They ruin it for everyone.

It’s gap thinking and experience destroying.

How does this play out in business and life? How do you react when something or someone falls short of your expectations (the gap)? How do you make people feel when targets aren’t met, deadlines are missed, or people underperform?

How do others experience your disappointment? Could moving from gap thinking to what’s gained make a difference and change the experience?

Don’t be like the grumpy cab driver.

Even if something is less than expected, how you make people feel when you do what you do, matters.

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