Public transport in Switzerland is efficient, (mostly) punctual, and literally all over the place. The railway tracks cover over 5.200 kilometres (3.200 miles). In 2017, the average one-way Swiss commute was 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) and took around 30 minutes, reported by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Over 50% of commuters take public transport to reach their workplace.
People in Switzerland are known for wanting to be punctual, so there is a tendency for them to get stressed easily when they are running late. And when that happens I have observed same behaviours as John Stepper outlined in one of his recent blogs “What will you do when the train is late?”
“Yet this miracle of punctuality is quickly forgotten whenever a train is late or, heaven forbid, cancelled. When that happens, I can feel the irritation and anger rise in the car and outside in the station. People air their displeasure with loud sighs and complaints. They take to social media to “share” a dose of negativity and sarcasm. They accost overwhelmed train personnel, demanding answers the staff usually doesn’t have.
Stopping to pause and ask questions helps you engage the more evolved parts of your brain so you can make a more mindful choice, one that’s better for you and everyone around you. It changes how you relate—to the situation, to yourself, to others—so you can be more effective and access more possibilities. If you don’t ride trains, what else might be your trigger? Maybe, like me, it’s waiting in traffic or in line at the supermarket. Maybe it’s an unpleasant interaction or incident at work or at home.
We can wish certain things don’t happen but we can’t control them. All we can control is our response, and that takes practice. The author of How to Train a Wild Elephant, a book on taming your mind, puts it this way: “If we don’t let the cart of the mind keep running down the same deep ruts, down the same old hill, into the same old swamp, eventually the ruts will fill up. Eventually our habitual states of irritation and frustration over something like waiting will dissolve. It takes time, but it works. And it’s worth it, as everyone around us will benefit.”
I wish all of you a good week!