Lessons from a taxi ride. Part 2.

3 min read

Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place through improved feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness, and optimism.



"Altruism is the surest and most effective way to bring about genuine life satisfaction" - Dalai Lama XIV


I believe there is a lesson in everything if we opt to look deep enough. In the previous article I looked into the concept of 'Enjoying the little things",I used an example of the time I had to wait for a minibus taxi for almost half an hour in the sun,but once one arrived and I boarded, the feeling of joy I felt improved my mood for the day - but only because I decided to enjoy that little thing at that particular moment.

In this article I wanted to look into the many times I have witnessed an act of altruism during a taxi ride.

You see Ethiopia is a country known for being a religious state - Christianity and Islam occupying almost 80% of the religious belief system of the country; it would be safe to assume the values and tenets reside through being a good person. We even have our own term and or feeling called "ይሉኝታ". Yilugnta (ይሉኝታ), can be described as a combination of the words; compassion, love, respect, empathy, and pity. It is a sense of feeling sorry for someone and wanting to help that someone out in one way or another. This is almost an exclusive feeling only we Ethiopians/Habeshans feel (for the most part at least, here is an article written by a British Professor describing its exclusivity to us).

Hence, it is very common to witness this or be part of this sentiment of Yilugnta (ይሉኝታ) during a minibus taxi ride. For instance, when an elderly person or a pregnant person wants to board a taxi people in line unanimously decide to put them in front - or let's take it one step further; give up one's seat (usually the person sitting upfront) to them. While the person giving up their seat would sit in an uncomfortable place. Even though, this act of kindness is very common throughout the world; I believe we Habeshans do this unconsciously because it is hardwired in our unconscious psyche.

But often times we don't consider how we can implement the great ability to have Yilugnta (ይሉኝታ) in our day-to-day lives to make other people's days better. Having an innate feeling to do the right thing might be a great thing - I believe if we decide to be conscious of those patterns of behaviors; we could build a stronger community filled with empathy and altruism.

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