50 Feet or 50 Minutes

By Greg Baer M.D.

March 6, 2015

My son Mike rides a city bus to work each day. When he wants to get off at the next corner, he simply pulls a cord that runs the length of the bus, which activates a buzzer notifying the driver to stop.

Recently a woman on the bus pulled the cord, but the driver didn’t hear it, so she pulled repeatedly on the cord and screamed for him to stop. He then pulled over immediately, stopping about fifty feet past the point the passenger would have preferred.

The passenger demanded that the driver back up the bus to “right place,” but he responded that company policy prohibited him backing up a loaded bus. It was too dangerous. He said she would have to get off and walk to her stop. She screamed at him that it was HIS mistake, so she would not get off the bus. He repeated himself, but she continued making her demand.

Finally, he said, “Ma’am, you have two choices. You can get off here, or you can stay on the bus until we get back to this place on the route again—in about fifty minutes.”

She complained to other passengers, but she stayed in her seat and waited until the bus came around to her stop again. Just to make her point—to underline that she was RIGHT—she chose to wait 50 minutes instead of walking 50 feet, which would have taken her less than twenty seconds.

Oh, what a price we are willing to pay for being right. I see it every day: spouses who would rather fight—with all the consequences to themselves and their children—than admit that they were wrong; employees who complain about their bosses instead of simply doing the job they’re paid for; children who would rather find fault with the teacher than just to do their assigned work.

Every day we decide whether we’d rather walk fifty feet or wait for fifty minutes. What is your choice?

Learn more about eliminating your anger!


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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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