I had a flying trip to London last week for a meeting and got talking to a taxi driver as he took me to Victoria station.
I asked the habitual question, 'Have you been busy?' Then I remembered how much of a ridiculous question that was as he was a taxi driver in the capital of England.'Yes' he replied.
'How long have you been doing this for?' was my next question.
I watched as he did some quick maths in his head. 'Thirteen years.'
I asked him if he enjoyed it and he said he did.
'Don't you fancy doing anything else?' I asked.
'No, I don't think so,' he replied, looking at me through the rear-view mirror.'What did you want to be when you were a kid?'
'A professional golfer,' he said.I could see him smiling as if remembering how amazing that dream actually was.
'What do you do in your spare time? Is there a hobby you do which you could excel in?''Nah, not really,' he said.
There was a pause as we snaked in and out of cars, buses and cyclists.
Then he said something which made me smile.'I'm content, you know.'
'Yeah?' I said. 'That's good.''I've never really been one of those ambitious people who reach for the stars and have to have this or that. I'm content driving my taxi and doing it the best I can.'
I continued to listen whilst smiling and looking at the passing scenery of tall buildings, trees and loads of busy people doing their thing.'I'm not unhappy but I wouldn't say I'm over the moon either. I'm just content with what is.'
Brilliant.I think there are a lot of us who mistake happiness for contentment.
For me, happiness is on the surface and has little depth. It might be short-lived and it comes in bursts. Contentment goes much deeper, but only shows subtle ripples on the surface in the form of a small smile of knowing that all is well.The taxi driver was content. He didn't need dreams and ambitions to find purpose in his life.
I learnt a lot from him.