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Finding Joy in Your Car and Kicking Road Rage to the Curb

Road Rage

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” ~Keri Russell

I’m a positive, happy kind of girl. I smile a lot and try to make people smile wherever I go.

But I have a confession I have to make: I used to have crazy road rage. I turned into the spawn of Satan as soon as I got behind the wheel of my car. I can’t explain it. I don’t know why it happened. It just did.

I didn’t go crazy and tailgate or rest on my horn or even flip the bird to other drivers. Nope, not like that. I yelled and screamed, mostly obscenities, and called other drivers horrible names. (Even spiritual, happy people drop *F* bombs from time to time—don’t judge.)

I’m embarrassed to admit to this. I’m going to go out on a limb here, though, and assume that I wasn’t the only one in the world with this problem. I’m just one of the few that will confess to it. Nonetheless, I was one red light short of needing blood pressure medication.

This was me: Get in the car. I’m in a hurry (as usual), quite possibly going to be late, again. I’m freaking out because the traffic is bad. I hit every red light, there are slow drivers in the fast lane, and “Ah man, is that a train?”

I’m checking the dashboard clock like a maniac, thinking that it just may, in some magical way, stop ticking. It doesn’t, and I look at it every minute and thirty-five seconds.

And this was my day, every day. Rush rush rush, check clock, late again, stress out, freak out, check clock. Everyone on the road is pissing me off and driving me absolutely crazy! Check clock again. Yup, I’m gonna be soooo late! F%#@!!

In Comes Joy

A few months ago I got in my car and discovered this little sticker on the floor on the passenger side that had fallen off of a project I was working on. It was a teeny-tiny sticker. Not quite an inch wide, a quarter of an inch high.

It said one word: joy. Aw, how cute. My first instinct was to toss it. What am I going to do with it now anyway? The project is done.

But for some reason, I couldn’t do it. Something inside me told me to do something with this little sticker. Anything! Just don’t toss it! I looked around the car. I could have placed it in the glove compartment for now. Maybe even put it in the cup holder (though I know how that would have ended).

Boom! There it was. Practically right in front of my face. My nemesis: that darn clock. I was absolutely astonished that the size of the sticker was exactly the same size as my clock. I kid you not! Without much thought, I placed the joy sticker on the clock.

And everything changed.

I started my car and drove off. Within one minute I automatically looked at the sticker. At one point, this would have started the race to see how long it would take to feel so stressed I’d want a margarita to calm me down.

But there was no time. Not this time. Not ever again. Only a powerful message: joy. And something wonderful happened. I giggled.

And I felt it, slowly, leaving me. The evil that lurked inside of me that was once called road rage was slowly seeping out. This crazy, little, fun joy sticker was transforming me.

I checked my clock seventy-eight more times during my drive only to see the word “joy.” The first sixteen times I continued to giggle. Now I just smile. Each and every time, I smile. I actually feel joy!

It wasn’t until I did this that I realized some very important things.

  • Continually checking my clock while I’m driving to work or appointments is not going to ensure that I arrive on time.
  • It’s going to completely stress me out.
  • And it’s going to make me drive like a lunatic.

The stress I was putting myself under while driving was ridiculous, senseless, and needless. I’ll get there when I get there and not a minute before! Period.

And when I finally do get there, I’ll be happy and smiling and relaxed. Yes, yes I will.

Your Turn (and Please Signal!)

Sometimes the tiniest things can have the biggest impact. This sticker story is proof. Luckily for me, my sticker was the same size as my clock (though to this day, I’m still truly baffled by that).

I’ve shared this story with many of my friends. They’ve tried this experiment and are amazed at the results.

I know you can do this too. Use your imagination. Create your own. Stick it to the clock and have a happy day.

Road rage image via Shutterstock

About Iva Ursano

Iva is a blogger and author from Sudbury, Ontario. A lifetime of professional and personal challenges has ignited a passion in her to help people face their fears and live ridiculously happy lives. Join her on Facebook for daily inspiration or go to her website ivaursano.com and follow her blog. Sign up for her monthly empowering musings and receive the free guide "21 days to a New You."

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  • Suggestion: kick the car to the curb. Your life will be much much better, healthier, and happier.

  • Iva Ursano

    Awesome Mike! I’m working on that too! 🙂

  • TheAnsible

    Ohh man Idk I was a bike courier through college and I would rage hard. Something about other people being careless with your life will really bring out the beast in you. When my buddy got put in the hospital by a careless cab driver I got especially bad. I tried to pull one of those cabbies out of his window but he drove off. But I am working on my road rage now on pedals or in a box. I still feel the need to be able to see my clock though so I have been practicing “wuuu saaa” instead.

  • Sometime when I’m in the car, if I find myself mindlessly radio channel surfing, stressed by traffic, or annoyed about timing, I’ll turn off the music and drive in complete silence. It’s a 5-minute break in my day where I can be completely present.

  • Iva Ursano

    Nice! I often turn the radio over to classical Zen like music. That always soothes the soul 🙂

  • Ya Iva. Sometimes, small things leave behind big impact in our life. We tend to forget the simplicity of these things. It’s wonderful to know that a little sticker changed your perspective towards life
    Whenever I feel low and stressed out, I just visualize the sweet voice of pigeons. You have a physical sticker, but I have a mental sticker.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  • Lindsey

    Oh my gosh, Iva, this is me!! Happy zen person in normal life who gets behind the wheel and starts yelling obscenities at other drivers! Always in a rush too. Love how a little word like “joy” changed it up. Hmm, I’m thinking of creative ways I can do this in my car…Thank you, this was a great article! Really hit home for me 🙂

  • Iva Ursano

    Hi Yatin thank you for your comment! 🙂 What a great audio cue for you!! And pigeons actually do sound nice now that I think about it. 😉

  • Iva Ursano

    Haha Lindsey!! Secrets revealed! Thank you for your comment and let me know what method you’ve created to help you zen out!

  • Yeah, we really need better infra here in the states. Vehicular Cycling makes me go crazy too.

  • TheAnsible

    Yeah I haven’t rode a bike over there but I heard Holland has figured out one of the best systems. I will say that I have seen the videos on Youtube and England seems to have the same mentality as the US though. Go figure.

  • I’m still here

    No one should ever drive over 60.