I had just arrived in Islamabad via Daewoo, and the old friend who came to pick me up was having car trouble. The car’s headlights were just not functioning, and it was getting dark. We assumed the problem to be the simplest: a fuse had shorted and a simple replacement would do it.
So we decided to stop at this car mechanic on the way.
“You’d have to bring the car tomorrow or leave it overnight with me,” said the mechanic after fiddling inside the car’s bonnet, “because the problem is not a fuse problem as you say.”
“O sir jee, it must be the simple fuse, why don’t you just look it over and get a new one,” said my friend, “and we’ll be on our way?”
Effectively, my friend had accused the mechanic of lying and trying to get more money by pretending the problem is a big one.
The mechanic simply said, “then please take your car somewhere else” and got back to gazing into some other car’s open bonnet.
While getting in, my friend said, “all these are freakin’ cheaters!! Now we have to get home before night. Let me see if I can borrow a —”
“I didn’t think he was a cheater,” I said.
“Kya matlab? Didn’t you see? How can it be a wiring problem? It has to be a fuse problem, very easy –”
“But you don’t know that man,” I said, “are you certain it was? Seriously? Tell me one good reason to suspect that he’s lying?”
“Because everyone lies!”
“Are you even sure about that?”
Silence. He lit up a cigarette.
“He was also rude,” he exhaled.
It was a tough day, seriously. You know, I got the battery issue fixed and got the car to start, but the crank shaft was not settling proper. There was noise. And only a little noise, but I want my work to be immaculate. This car belonged to an old customer, and Ashraf bhai always pays me on time and in full. So I had the bonnet open, thinking of where to probe first, when this black City pulls up. Two guys come out. The headlights were not working, and they suspected it was a fuse issue.
It usually is the fuse issue. So I thought I’d quickly get them fixed up: 15 bucks for the fuse and 50 bucks for the labor, I told them. They agreed. A quick 50 I don’t mind. Would hardly take me 15 minutes. But when I looked into the the fusebox, the fuse was all good. I knew then that this is a big issue. That’s how it is with these cars: either it is a 5 minute fix, or a 1 day job. So I told them. You should have seen the look on their faces: It can’t be a wire issue they said! How would they know? They probably thought I was cheating them. I told them leave the car here if they want it looked over. They didn’t want that. They left shortly after that. Oh well, I had work to do…
The mechanic collects customers that trust him and filters out people who don’t.
Shouldn’t we collect positive people – friends, customers – and filter out the negative ones? Do we really have time to pay attention to the noise?
If your relationship is not educational, entertaining or empowering, why do you let it distract you? Either work on it, or find a different relationship. Sign out from Facebook, don’t pick up the phone, sell your TV. Whatever it takes. Remove distractions and more importantly, remove distrust and negativity. “You have one life to live and if you do it well, one is all you need”. Let’s do it well. InshAllah.
In all fairness, maybe you are the negative one? Maybe the positives have already circled away from you. All you’re left with are the negatives? Negatives that don’t add up to a positive. Maybe you should do something about it? Yes? There is something you can do: you can start with trust.
Assume the best in and from people.
P.S. Expect another article next week inshAllah on trust and why it is such a powerful tool. Meanwhile, let me know if you find this newsletter useful? If you find this newsletter boring and pointless, then unsubscribe: don’t let me pollute your inbox.
This article is taken from my upcoming book “Finding Your Business” – know more and join the pre-launch list here.