• Thomas A. Wilson

Bad Boy on the Bus

In 1990, I needed to travel from South Carolina to Montana. Money was tighter than time, so I opted for a bus ride instead of a plane trip. The journey took an interesting turn in North Dakota. Somewhere in Minnesota, I think, we picked up a musician. Well… at least he had a guitar case.

He took the only available empty seat, right next to me. Other than the cast on his lower right leg, he seemed nondescript. But the night was young. He slipped off to the bathroom several times, and upon each return, he behaved goofier and goofier. Talking and laughing loudly, demanding conversation—he wouldn’t shut up. Everybody else was trying to get some shuteye.

A gentleman in front of the broke-legged guitar player reclined his seat. My loud seatmate responded by taking his good leg and kicking the back of the seat repeatedly, demanding that it be returned to the upright position. The man acquiesced. Nobody was sleeping at that point.

This went on for over an hour. Passengers appeared apprehensive and annoyed, but things ramped up a notch when the man suddenly snatched up the toddler sitting across the aisle. Everyone collectively held their breath. After the man delivered some overdone baby talk, the little one was deposited back in the seat beside her mom. The mother changed seats, putting her baby by the window. Events had moved from annoying, to weird, to scary.

It was at this point in the story, as fate would have it, that the bus driver needed to make a freight stop. He told passengers to remain on the bus, that the stop would be brief for the sole purpose of picking up freight. The jerk, however, wanted a cigarette. He got off the bus and lit up a Camel. The driver, who had had enough, said, “That’s it, you’re off the bus.” Then he called for the man’s stuff.

You’ve never seen a team of people cooperate so quickly. Suitcase and guitar crowd-surfed right out the door. The bus filled with commentary and laughter. I still remember the sight of the whining man standing in the weak glow of a street light, snow falling lazily, somewhere in North Dakota, at two in the morning.

Sometimes you’ve just got to get something off your bus. That something might be a person, or a habit, or a situation. Arrival at the superior destination demands that you not take infectious inferiority with you to the next stop.

The Behavior Bus Worksheet (downloadable pdf under the Documents tab) will help you evaluate what’s currently in the seat next to you, and if you want it to stay there.

Start with the “reader board” on the back of the bus—list a persistent behavior. Next, since thinking drives behavior, describe the belief that’s driving the bus. Next, fill in each box to capture what you’re carrying both short-term and long-term.

Then, make a decision.


Thinking Drives Behavior

Affirmation of the Week: I am self-aware and diligent as I manage everything on my bus!

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