One of the EY team members I met in India is named Chethan. Chethan is a typical EY employee, mid to late 20’s with a college degree and full of ideas about making work processes better, more efficient. He is also very friendly and willing to respond to any question I might throw out about what life is like living in India.
One day, he was talking about his commute to work. I had been in India only one week, but had already experienced the chaos of travel in the city. The roads are not wide, so many folks ride motorcycles rather than cars, since the motorcycles can zip around cars that may be not moving very quickly. Motorcycles are clearly a faster method of transportation when traffic is heavy. I could see why so many of the EY employees ride motorcycles into work, to cut down on a long commute. Chethan said that for many years, he drove a motorcycle to and from work. However, for the past year, he has been driving a car into work. I asked him why – was it because he did not like driving in bad weather? No, that was not it – in fact there are really only 2 months out of the year that experience recurring rain. That was true, during the 17 days I was there, it never rained once. It was mid 50s in the morning and low 80s during the day. Weather definitely was not the reason not to ride a motorcycle.
His answer surprised me – he said there was a lot of construction along his route to work. My next thought is that construction meant that the roads were somehow blocked too, but if that was true, wouldn’t a motorcycle be better at navigating more narrow driving areas? No, there was not any construction on the roads, it was building construction. The construction simply meant that he wanted to make sure he avoided things falling down onto his head. If you live in America, you might think that remark is odd. However, I’ve seen the scaffolding along buildings in India – nothing like what you see in the U.S. It is easy to imagine that yes, things might actually fall down and could hit something below.
Chethan made the comment very casually, showing something that is typical of the way they live. If things aren’t exactly the way they need to be, all you do is adapt to the environment. Complaining won’t do anything when the situation isn’t ideal. The best answer is to adapt to whatever you are experiencing and move on.
I’ve become a big fan of that mindset – so much that this phrase is now going to be a quote I throw out in conversation. When things aren’t going exactly right, I’m just going to get off the motorcycle and get in the car.