The EQ Moment, the Three Wishes, the Replay

I have a great "EQ moment" I'd like to share with you. It concerns a growing problem here in Japan related to transportation. More specifically, it happens in trains. Recently, arguments and passenger incidents are increasing.These seem to be related to stress levels, or other frustrations such as people using strollers during peak hour rush, or not effectively silencing babies (because babies don't cry, in hot uncomfortable places, right?!). These are getting a lot of attention in the news lately and they seem to be most unwelcome. With passengers already crammed-in, the suffocating conditions on many trains can elevate stress levels and cause tempers to fray. On the contrary, coming home from work today the train was quite empty. A nice relief from the usual 40cmx40cm standing space I have (and that's on a good day!). Just to help you paint a picture, "empty" here means standing room only :). Still, I was about to experience a moment of madness.

I was already on the train which was approaching my stop, and started to make my way to the exit doors when an oncoming passenger took it on himself to try and barge through me. This action came with a couple of well-prepared, telling words that would be music to anyone's ears: "Jama dayo. Baka! Which basically is: "you're in the way - idiot!"

Those words and that action in that moment hit my spot. This was my "aha" moment - I'm having an EQ test!

Check point: physical reactions.

I did notice my breathing was a bit shallower and my heart rate was increasing. I was not in any physical pain from the aggressive knock. My initial reaction was one of confusion. "How could this be?" I thought to myself. "Could this be the end of my image of caring Japan?" Hardly. I quickly looked around and noticed that there was more than enough room for him to politely walk past. "The nerve of some people!!!", right? Or not... Then I looked back at him and stared in dismay. I noticed many people doing the same, some with disgruntled looks. People were also watching me to see what I was going to do next. "Now was my moment to choose my action", I thought. Should I run after this guy? Should I apologize for not being invisible? Should I retaliate? Should I let it go? What would you do?

What I did...

I had the space in my mind to decide, and the space to make a choice. Here, by space, I mean the the time between the incident, and the choice of reaction. We all do and I realized that training this "space" can make a big difference. I could have chosen from a long list of more familiar actions. Instead, I chose to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and feel. I felt his pain and anger. I felt him releasing some of his repressed stress that has caused him so much pain. It wasn't important that I was the cause of that pain. Within a few seconds after that bizarre event, I felt his need for someone to tell him he's special. For just one person to accept him for who he was. After all, aren't we all looking for that one person to just accept us for who we are? I thought about asking if he was okay, but I decided to use my three wishes instead. When I opened my eyes, he was gone, and I missed my stop :).

Three wishes

Though he was gone, I still pictured his face in my mind, and used my three wishes to send him a message, repeating in my head:

  1. "I wish for you to be happy"
  2. "I wish for you to be successful"
  3. "I wish for you to be healthy"

Replay: Looking for clues

After that, I had some more time to think about what had happened. I replayed the incident in my head over and over again looking for clues. I checked my verbs until I found something that might be the answer. The correlation to something that I need to work on. Then .... it clicked. "Wow...."

I'm sorry.

If anyone of my colleagues, friends or family is reading this, firstly, I'd like to apologize. I'd like to say sorry if I have at all flooded you or made you feel like I might have overwhelmed you, or gotten in the way of something you tried to do. If I have hindered your success, I am truly sorry.

Secondly, please let me know what I was doing so that I can stop this hideous behavior and help make your life just that little bit better.

Thirdly, sorry to the stranger who had play that role for me to learn. I sincerely pass those three wishes to you and hope you are okay.

What would you have done?

If this story was in my "earlier days", it might have had a different outcome! These experiences, if listened to, teach us great lessons. Whether they come from strangers, or people you work with, or those you love. I would love to hear your experiences!

Love your life, live your values.

Bye for now,


Gabriele Ciminelli