You may think as you like about Deutsche Bahn.
Yes, the delays can be annoying and I admit that the slow flow of information for me personally is even worse.
But if we look at the whole thing from a completely different direction, we can also learn a life lesson.
I have worked long to be able to always see the positive aspect of even obviously bad situations and there is always one.
In 2012 I got my new job in management consultancy. The increased travel activity meant that I was the proud owner of a BahnCard 100 in my first year.
And there was no way around to be oftend forced to deal with delays. At the beginning my mood got worse and worse and with the time the insight matured, that it would have been better, if I had taken the company car and in my rather negative mood I only saw the things that were better with a company car and I have neglected the potential problems such as traffic jams and others.
In this mood, it happened again: on the way home after a week at the customer in Frankfurt:
As so often, the train was late and communicated badly.
It was winter and really damn icy. At first I was stinky and then a train employee appeared at the other end of the platform. I was about to relieve all my frustration on this lady, who did her job and for whom it also was icy.
While she slowly came towards me at the platform something in me happened, that I was not really aware of at the beginning, when we finally met my anger evaporated.
In the course of the conversation, of course, the current situation also came up and she thanked me for my kindness and how I manage to stay calm.
I again thought carefully what happened to me before and I really came to life-changing insight.
On that frosty winter night on the platform in Mannheim I didn’t really have anything to do other than wallowing in my swamp of negative emotions and noticed that, to put it mildly, it really doesn’t do me any good.
I started to set up different possible scenarios, projected them into the future, estimated the respective consequences and then decided how I will continue to behave.
For the scenarios, I decided on the following basic parameters:
1.Scenario 1: What’s the worst thing that can happen?
2. Scenario 2: What happens if I behave as usual?
3. Scenario 3: What is the best thing that can happen?
Especially in scenario 1 you are welcome to take full control and make it really “ugly”, but it should still be realistic. :-).
When we have really gone through all of these scenarios and lived through our imaginations, the most important point comes:
What does not change no matter what decicion you are going to take?
And then make a decision for you.
Back in the Mannheim winter, it was like this for me:
I act like Rumpelstiltskin and pour all my frustration (and it was really big) unfiltered on the lady. In the worst case, she feels threatened and calls the police. That makes me even wilder and the police officers feel compelled to take me along and to give me an overnight stay in the cell. The result is that I no longer come home that evening and I will get real problems.
I am frustrated but manage to hold off my horses but still unfairly pour out my unfriendliness over the lady just because she works for the DB. This means that I am not feeling any better, I am still annoyed, the time passes by totally slowly and I also mess up the evening for the lady. At some point I get home, I’m still totally annoyed, complain in the middle of the night to my wife, who can’t help it, and keep her from her well-deserved sleep. I myself cannot sleep with all the adrenaline in my blood. The next day starts beeing tired and not doing well. Every little thing worsens my mood and that is how the day goes on
I get my emotions under control, greet the lady kindly and a nice conversation about the DB and the world in general develops. To connect positively with someone else, even if only for a short time, creates even better emotions and helps to release all the adrenaline that was understandably produced in the first anger. We can learn from each other and develop further. Time flies by. At some point, even if it is early morning, I come home completely relaxed, sneak quietly into the bedroom, carefully kiss my peacefully sleeping wife, lie down in bed and fall asleep right away. The next morning, I may not wake up completely rested but certainly relaxed and tell my wife at breakfast coffee with a smile about the incredibly long journey home from Frankfurt to the Black Forest.
I particularly remember that all this superficially seen total crap, gave me the opportunity to get to know a nice person and her stories about disgruntled rail customers. Something that would never have happened without the delay.
Then I really asked myself the question what is the same in all three scenarios.
The answer came very quickly and is soooo simple:
The train comes when it comes.
When it became crystal clear to me, it was really easy for me to make my decision which behavior to choose and everything came exactly as I had imagined in scenario 3.
The best thing about it is the fact that it’s a universally applicable process. At the beginning I had to actively initiate this in me, now it works for me automatically.
This automatism gives me the serenity and resilience that my fellow people always notice.
I would be happy if I could also show you a way to make good decisions.