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How To Thrive in Traffic Not Just Survive

Updated on November 25, 2012
I think a finger got photo shopped out, how 'bout you?
I think a finger got photo shopped out, how 'bout you?

Sitting in Traffic?

Traffic jams and heavy traffic are becoming more frequent across the nation. Los Angeles, New York and now even Honolulu is popping up on worst commute lists. Washington DC is becoming a traffic nightmare as well. Chicago's got traffic, Huston, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle. They're all suffering from too many cars hitting the road at the same time. This can lead to the term we all know and love as "road rage."

Even a minor case of road rage can 7()@% up your entire day or worse yet, you bring that tension home with you. I mean it's bad enough you just put in a ten hour day, got yelled at by a rude customer (probably still pissed off because it took 35 minutes to go the 3 miles it took get to you) your boss chewed on you too and now you're sitting on the freeway with a bunch of other idiots, just like yourself wondering why none of us can use this time to figure out exactly how to actually invent the transporter beam from Star Trek...

Any bells ringing for you?

Well the question now is this:

Do you want to be cause or the effect of your environment?

Yes this question goes well beyond traffic congestion, but for now, let's use this all too common example to demonstrate how you can take action in the car and create a positive environment for yourself instead of just sitting there, grinding away, with smoke coming out of your ears and white knuckling the steering wheel.

Let's Start With A Few Things NOT to Do

  1. No news. Period. Don't argue... The news media has one job and one job only and that's to keep you unsure, uncertain and slightly nervous all the time. What is the ratio between good news and bad news? Seriously, if the fit is hitting the shan, you'll know, you'll find out. Trust me on that one. You don't need to start your day with who got shot last night, what blew up in a foreign county and how we're all about to catch the bird, swine, cat, dog, mouse, elephant flu...
  2. No Traffic Reports. This is like squeezing lemon juice on a paper cut. Look around. Traffic sucks. Do you really need to know there's a jackknifed truck and a downed motorcycle? Seriously, how will that make this any better? If you're going to check traffic, do it before you leave so you can plan a route around it. But once you're in it, you're in it. Besides, you'll never find out why you're stuck in it. Have you ever heard the traffic guy in the chopper say, "I'd like to take a moment here to apologize to Steve on the 101 near the 405 interchange. On behalf of all Angelenos, we realize you hit the snooze too many times and now because of this stalled BMW in the center lane you're REALLY going to be late, we all feel your pain and are so very sorry." By the time traffic clears up a bit you realize there's no accident, just too many cars, just like yesterday and the day before and the day before that... sorry! NO TRAFFIC REPORTS.
  3. No smoking. If you smoke. Stop. There's enough chemicals on the freeway and there's no need to slowly kill yourself while sitting in traffic. Need help with that? CLICK HERE! And get a copy of my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.
  4. No Nose Picking. Just because you're by yourself in the car, does not mean you're by yourself... think about it.
  5. Texting and Web Surfing. Forget about it. 3 MPH or 30 MPH, it's still dangerous....
  6. Putting on your make up. C'mon ladies, (and possibly a few gentlemen, not that there's anything wrong with that) get up earlier... 'nuff said.
  7. Reading. Seriously? I've seen it. Book, newspaper, magazine; leave them in the trunk! Studying your lines? Only in L.A.! On you're way to an audition? Really now, record that crap and keep you eyes on the road. Good God!

So, here's the point... see that sign below... take it to heart!

How to Thrive In Traffic

To just survive would be simply boring at best. Let us instead Thrive!

  1. World music. Think about it for a second. Wouldn't you rather be anywhere but here? Give your imagination a jump start and fire up some exotic music. For me, it's all about mood, but The Gipsy Kings are great for sitting in traffic. So is Stan Getz. Especially his Latin stuff. I'm Irish so anything Celtic is great for me. Also, love the Big Band sound. How about you? I also have an affinity for Native American music as well. If this ain't your thing, try it anyway. The local top 40 station will only get you so far... it's time to expand your horizons and stimulate your imagination with music. Music soothes the savage beast they say.
  2. Books on tape. Heck yeah! Turn your drive time into learn time. This brings me back to the news/media aspect. You can either give control over what goes in your ears to the media or you can take control of yourself and control over what data goes into your noggin. When I do an audio book, 9 out of 10 times it will be something educational or inspirational. I figure the time I have in the car is my time and since life outside of the car can be busy, hectic and overwhelming, I'm using this time to further educate myself, grow and develop in my profession or advance myself spiritually.
  3. Practice a foreign language. Why not? Hey, don't get all political on me now. English is the national language in the good ol' U.S. of A. but why not broaden your horizons a bit and study another way to communicate with our fellow humans. Learn Thai for no other reason then to freak out a waitress at a Thai restaurant... I suppose if you're already Thai it won't be so freaky. I'm a white boy and a half so of I rattled off something in Thai to a waitress, I think she'd freak out, but maybe that's just me. But I digress. Learning a new way to communicate is a good way to spend your commute.
  4. Mantra. Yes. Mantra. Get some beads and get to it. Don't worry about breaking any major religious laws. If your Catholic, say the Rosary. If you're Christian, pick a verse you like from scripture and repeat it. If your Buddhist or Hindu, you know what to do. The point here is to find a way to elevate your consciousness. Just because you're stuck in a traffic jam doesn't preclude you from having a spiritual experience. Mantra is a great way to clear and free the mind from that little bastard known as the ego. The ego in case you're wondering is the little voice that is trying to convince you all these idiots on the road are in your way. Sometimes thinking isn't always the best thing to do...
  5. Call friends or family... You need to stay in touch with these people. Don't be a slacker! Call someone you haven't spoke with in a while. Yes, land lines are slowly becoming a thing of the past, however, that doesn't mean you still can't reach out and touch someone...
  6. Satellite Radio Comedy Channels. Laughter is the best medicine. Hands down, bar none. If you got the Satellite Radio in the ride, by all means tune into the comedy channel of your choosing and laugh your @$$ off all the way home. This way when the jerk in the fancy smancy car cuts you off and is doing his best to cut through traffic, honking, speeding up, slowing down, where in the world is a cop when you need one, cussing and fist pumping, road rage SOB, you can go, "so glad that's not me anymore!"

Where's your head right now?

Going to work -vs- coming home? How do we address that? On the way to work, listen to or focus on your day. Not in terms of "all the $#*7 you have to get done but more along the lines of "what am I going to accomplish today?" See the difference?

Now if you're like, "dude, I work at the mall, it takes me 45 minutes to go 9 miles, people are @$$#oles and I'm only working there because I need the money." If this is you, if you haven't accomplished anything since the Dinorama you built in 4th Grade, you need to find purpose to your work and maybe even your life. Let me just say this for now. There is no greater occupation then to be of service to a fellow human being. That is your higher purpose. Even if it's just helping them find the canned peas or the right pair of jeans. Walk them over there and show them the peas, help them pick out their next pair of jeans. This one shift alone could probably double the income of many supermarkets and retail chains.

So where was I? Oh, yeah, get prepared, pumped up, jacked up excited on your way to work. Regardless of what you do, there's a multitude of ways to use the suggestions above to get in the right frame of mind to take on the day.

On the way home, you have several options as well, but the main focus needs to be on "cooling down." If you have a busy job or had a rough day, don't take that crap home with you. Your family will get infected with that negativity. If you live alone, your home is your sanctuary. Don't bring that crap into your sanctuary.

That's All Folks!

So, what did you get out of this HUB?

What was your favorite part?

Do you disagree with anything I said? It's OK if you do.

Did I miss something?

What do you do to kill the time in traffic?

Comments, Concerns, Grips, Groans, Agreements and all other thoughts of importance or otherwise! Please opine below...

Let me know your thoughts. This could be fun!

Chime in below...


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