Empathy Intervention – Ethan Waite

I spend a lot of time driving on freeways, and this summer I had a job that meant my commute was during rush hour on a particularly terrible section of freeway near San Francisco.

In the past I would get really angry (like really angry) at all these other drivers who clearly have never driven a vehicle before in their lives. But after a while, I realized that it wasn’t actually me vs everyone else. In a situation like traffic, it is best to think of it as a collective and that you are just a piece of the whole.

If everyone believes that they are the victim of traffic, and not actually part of the cause of it, things get chaotic. But if you sort of let yourself relax a bit — leave space for people get to their exit, don’t get upset if someone cuts you off, etc. etc. — the whole experience becomes a lot less stressful, and in the end it benefits everyone. Everyone has a reason for being in traffic. They all have places to be and things to do that are just as important as yours, so why waste the energy getting upset.

About The Author