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One never knows where the little reminders of how to live life will come from, we are all so tied up in the day-to-day grind that we never get the time to sit down and think things through, especially the things that really matter to us. We spend a lot of time reflecting on decisions we make to live our lives better, and many times questioning those decisions, which was why it was a breath of fresh air when Francis, a Cameroonian uberX cab driver who immigrated to the US eight years ago, spent our cab ride sharing his thoughts on the world and how to live our lives better. Here are the five lessons I left our journey with. (Note: Quotes are from Francis himself)

1. EDUCATION

“The More Your Learn, The More You Earn” — Francis believed that the best thing we can do for ourselves, and the world around us, is to educate ourselves. He believed that by learning new things and challenging ourselves every day that we are able to dig deeper into the problems that face our world, and come up with the solutions that will make it a better place for our children and ourselves. He also believed that it was the ultimate road to success, he kept saying that there is so much corruption in our world today, but in the end that people with knowledge will always succeed, because they do not need to cheat to win.

2. WORK

“You have to work hard, in this world you have to work hard” — Francis worked another job in addition to driving a cab for uberX, he said there was no other way, if you want to make things better for you and your family you have to give your heart and soul to your work. Francis found in his work something that we all strive for in our day-to-day jobs, purpose. Throughout the conversation he was smiling because he believed deep down in his soul that the work he was doing, regardless of what is was, meant something. He wasn’t simply driving a cab, he was paying for his kids education, he was building his family a home, he was giving them the things he never got when he was younger. I pray we all find that depth of understanding and fulfillment in the work we do.

3. COMMUNICATION

“I like to talk and listen to people, that is how I understand” — A lot of the time we make judgments on people, places, races, or religions without ever fully understanding them. The amount of understanding that can come between people with simple conversation can go so far, to ask questions of each other or state your feelings on certain issues puts things into perspective and gives any conflict or misunderstanding a foundation to build on for the better. This approach can trickle down into all walks of life, whether it be your personal relationships or your colleagues at work, start by talking and listening, you may not always agree on the way forward at the beginning, but at least you are moving in that direction.

4. CULTURE

“You should love where you come from and your culture, it is who you are, never forget that” — Francis, his wife and four children, immigrated to the US eight years ago, and it was very clear that he loved the United States and the opportunities it had given him. Having said that it was also clear that he had not forgotten who he was and where had come from, to him his identity was a source of strength in the midst of all the change he and his family had been going through, as well as the challenges and struggles they face to make ends meet. The life lesson to take away here is to stand proud and always stay true to who you are and what you believe in, you may not have everyone on your side, but you will always be your best and that can carry you anywhere.

5. LOVE

“Even if my wife wants to leave me, divorce is not in my dictionary, and I will tell her I like you, stay with me” — There are several reasons that might come about that could bring an end to a relationship, whether that reason makes or breaks a relationships depends on the level of commitment you have to each other and fighting past the problems. Francis showed me the level of commitment that is necessary for a relationship to stand the test of time, it is through an attitude of not walking away from a problem when things are broken, but staying there with the person you love to fix it.

I mentioned to Francis that I was a student in the United States and throughout the cab ride Francis would keep saying “Study hard, don’t be a cab driver like me”. If only he knew that people can get the best educations, become leaders in all aspects of professional society, and still not have access to the wisdom on how to live better lives that Francis was so kind to share with me that afternoon. If you are somewhere out there reading this Francis, thank you and may your best days be ahead of you.

P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you found this helpful please share on whatever platform you think is valuable and will help others. Much love!