Are You Just Like That Passenger?

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How are you taking responsibility for your life?

Last week, we asked the tough questions about living a balanced life and being your best. This week, as promised, we are going to talk about the first lesson on sustaining excellence.

The first lesson is this: ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.

You might have heard of the story of an ingenious Filipino taxi driver. He invented a taxi cab and a taxi meter. He even invented his own taxi booking app. One day, he was on the road and there was this Japanese who book his taxi cab while he was driving around the city.

When the Japanese rode in, he shouted, “Bring me to the airport. Faster.”

“Yes sir.” Said the Filipino and off they went.

Suddenly, a car passed them by and zoomed off. The Japanese shouted, “Hey, hey! Look! Honda, Honda, made in Japan — very fast. Why you so slow? Go faster!”

“I’m doing my best, sir.”

While the Filipino was talking, the Japanese noticed another car overtaking them. He shouted, “Hey, hey! Look! Mazda, Mazda, made in Japan — very fast. Why you so slow? Go faster!”

“I’m doing my best, sir.”

He just finished talking when another car passed them by. The Japanese shouted, “Hey, hey! Look! Toyota, Toyota, made in Japan — very fast. Why you so slow? Go faster!”

The driver was already sweating doing his best. Finally, they arrived at the airport. The Filipino handed him the freshly printed ticket from his newly invented taxi meter.

The Japanese was shocked looking at the ticket and asked, “Oh, why, why, why? Why so much? Why so much?”

The Filipino replied, “Hey, hey! Look! Taxi meter, taxi meter — made in the Philippines — also very fast!”

Often times, in our life, we become merely passengers when in fact, we are the drivers. At times, we sit there and just keep shouting… when in fact, we should be there, in the front seat, by the steering wheel. Because we are the drivers of our life.

Are you taking charge? Are you taking responsibility for your life? Are you taking upon yourself the power to change the course of your life? To live your best? And to live a balanced life?

I know life can get tough. Work can get rough. But how are we responding to the challenges with a sense of responsibility?

One of the powerful formulae that I’ve learned in life is this: E is not equal to O; E plus R equals O. That is, Event + Response = Outcome. Event is not equal to Outcome. So stop complaining when challenges come because your response will affect the outcome.

What’s more comforting is that the Events are only 10% and the Response is 90%; this adds up to 100% as the Outcome. This means, the Response plays a bigger role. Stephen Covey said, “10% of life made up of what happens to you and 90% of life is decided by how you react.” (Or respond.)

Let us take responsibility. Have the right response. Stop complaining. Start asking the question, “What should be done? What can I do?”

One day, even when I was still at a staff level at that time, I was asked to lead a project. The project had been stalled for a long time. One afternoon, we were having a meeting. And people were so passionate with their points of arguments and perspectives. I noticed that the air-conditioning unit was functioning well but the room was hot — filled with heated points of debates and discussions. After patiently listening and waiting for a long while, I raised my hand and asked, “So what should we do now?” They paused. They fell silent. Deep in their hearts they knew that question should be answered. Then one person raised her hand shyly, started speaking, and shared her suggestion to address the problem. The others followed and we adjourned the meeting with concrete action items in our hands.

We were glad we took responsibility. We were glad we took care of the 90%. We were glad we have a say in the outcome.

Take a look at your life right now — your work, your projects, your goals. How is it going? What is happening? And what is the outcome that you want?

Now I ask you: What responsibility should you take upon your shoulders?

(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM is a leadership trainer, presentations coach, and an author of 4 books including ‘SPEAK: How to Craft and Deliver a Speech or Presentation with Competence and Confidence’. Get his book for free by attending the SPEAK 2.0 Intensive Public Speaking Workshop on June 15. Register now at Meet good people who also want to grow at the Growth Summit 2019; sign up now at