I love using the Uber app. It’s made transportation so easy. No more scheduling a car or looking for a taxi. With the click of a button I get a friendly driver wherever I am. It has completely replaced taxis for me … well almost.
You see I have a guilty pleasure that I’m going to confess to you here today. Every once in a while … when I’m feeling especially naughty … I like to take a taxi and after a few minutes of small talk I ask the driver a simple question: “What do you think of Uber?” It’s kind of like when your child first learns to say a bad word and you can’t help provoking them into saying it over and over – it’s so wrong, but it makes you laugh so you do it.
It takes every bit of self-control I possess not to crack up laughing during these “taxi cab confessions.” It’s really as if taxi drivers have no idea how horrible their service has been for so many years. Here are a few of my favorites:
“The Uber drivers are all criminals. They don’t do background checks like taxis do.” (I’m pretty sure the driver who told me this was still drunk from the night before.)
“The service is horrible. Uber drivers are rude and aren’t good drivers.” (This was said as he slammed on the brakes and sped in between stop signs.)
“They’re going out of business … horrible business model.” (The day after Uber was valued at $17B.)
This is a funny story because taxi drivers have no credibility when it comes to evaluating the service that’s making them obsolete, right? I mean, who would ask someone so obviously ill-equipped to deliver a valid answer to a question like this?
And that’s the really funny part … this is exactly what we all do every day when discussing our perceived problems and hurdles – we ask people who are biased, obviously lack expertise, and who have repeatedly provided us bad answers in the past. Just like my taxi cab example.
Don’t believe me? Think back to the last problem you had and then remember who you went to for advice.
Having a problem with your spouse … who do we ask for help? Our happily married friends or the ones who will agree what an asshole your husband is?
Experiencing trouble at work … and who do we go to? Our really successful friends? Nope. We ask the ones who can’t hold down a job or regularly spar with the boss.
When we’re having medical issues … do we go to our healthy friends? The ones who exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet? Nope, we sit down with a bag of Cheetos, a glass of wine, and a friend with a long list of ailments.
Isn’t this true for you? We live our lives in the back seat of a taxi asking the driver his opinion on Uber … only it’s our lives we’re talking about and, in truth, it’s not really funny at all.
This is why my wife and I came up with the GRID. A sheet of paper with a grid drawn on it. Across the top we list all the areas where we need advice. Things like love, spirituality, health, money, work, sex, parenting, etc. And then beneath each topic we put a name … not the person who’s the easiest conversation, but the person who is an expert on that topic – and the way we know they’re an expert isn’t because they like to blab about it but because their life actually reflects that expertise … they live like we wish we lived in relation to that area.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from the GRID:
1) Jack-of-all-trades. We all have a friend or two who likes to think he or she is the end-all source of advice for us. But I’ve found it’s simply not true. In fact, in my experience these know-it-alls usually end up giving us really horrible advice that only adds to our crisis or drama.
2) Sex. Given that sex is such an important part of happy lives and relationships, it’s amazing how little we and our friends know about it. This is one area where an expert in the form of a book, a counselor, following Dr. Ruth on Twitter (she’s really on Twitter!) or a retreat can be quite valuable.
3) Parents. Asking your parents about parenting is a good idea only if you like how you were parented … if not, it’s a horrible idea! We’ve found that talking to friends who have been there and raised children whose company we enjoy are a great resource. And, as counterintuitive as it might sound, the best advice we’ve received on parenting has come from honest talks with our children — treating them as partners in their growth has reaped benefits for us and them.
The best advice on parenting comes from honest talks with our children- treating them as partners in their own growth.
4) Money. Good financial advice is usually found with someone who either has money or whose job it is to give good financial advice. Asking your hairdresser or doctor doesn’t usually end well.
5) Experts. When you run out of friends, add some paid experts to your life. Advisors, therapists, consultants, even gurus and monks, can save us lots of time, heartache and missteps by providing targeted expert advice.
This week I invite you to make a grid of your own. See what you find out and send me what you learn, your ideas, and of course your funny stories.
Big Hugs of Love,