September 6, 2019

There aren’t 24 rush hours per day

Sent by Jonathan Stark on September 7th, 2019

If you only ever drive at rush hour, you might think that the roads are always jammed and that everyone is a self-centered monster. But the truth is that the other 22 hours per day, most roads are pretty clear and the people driving at those times are relatively courteous. Not everywhere and not everyone, but in general.

My entire life I have operated at strange hours. I’m a night owl. Left to my own devices, I prefer to stay up late and sleep in. Among other things, this quirk of mine has allowed me to mostly avoid the horrible experience of rush hour traffic.

Even when I had my one and only corporate cube job many years ago, my wonderful manager (Hi, Cathy!) allowed me to come in for 10am and leave at 6pm. This relatively minor time shift transformed my initial commuting experience from a torturous 95 minute stop-and-go crawl to a relatively chill 55 minute singing-along-to-the-radio breeze.

So when I do accidentally end up in rush hour traffic (maybe twice a year?), I’m struck by how insane it is. Why would anyone put themselves through the torture of driving at the worst possible time? Go earlier or go later. A slight shift would dramatically change the experience.

Here’s the thing...

When you’re in a particular routine - like suffering in rush hour every day, twice a day - it’s almost impossible to imagine that there’s any other reality. Your daily perception colors your world view. You start to assume that your subjective experience of the world is the only world that exists.

But the truth is that a relatively minor shift can break you through to a dramatically different reality.

For example:

Do you think that all clients are micromanaging monsters bent on disrespecting your expertise to get the lowest possible price?


Do you think that billing by the hour is the only fair way to charge for your services and that all clients will reject any other approach?


Do you think that all clients would laugh at the notion of paying for your services 100% in advance? Or reject the idea of “merely” paying for your advice? Or refuse to accept a proposal that didn’t have a guaranteed delivery date?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Sure, you might be in a deep rut with high walls... but a different reality is right there on the other side. A minor lane shift could make a major difference.