The taxi careered at breakneck speed through the narrow back-streets of the City of London until a red light halted our progress. As we waited for the lights to change, the driver revved his engine – clearly a tactic for making the lights change quicker! Then the amber joined the red and we took off again, somewhat reminiscent of a Formula 1 racing car with launch control. I was reminded of an old friend who was stopped by the police for speeding along the esplanade at South Shields – the officer indicated that he should wind his window down and then asked, “Are we trying to take off, sir?” Anyway, you’ve got the picture.

A short distance on, as we were making warp speed down Threadneedle Street, a pedestrian began to cross the road. He had elected to take a diagonal, and therefore longer, route across. As he stepped out into the road, he looked in our direction to see if it was clear. Looming large was our taxi, bearing down on him rapidly. He calculated the vectors in that intuitive way and realised that he wasn’t going to make it across in time to avoid the taxi. Any normal person would have changed course and moved into a fast trot. Not this pedestrian! He eyeballed the taxi driver, adopted that ‘I’m not budging!’ look and maintained his original course! I watched as long as I could and then I just had to look away – I hate the sight of blood! But then the brakes were applied, the taxi pulled several G’s as it decelerated, and there was this loud honking noise – no doubt something to do with dropping out of warp speed. The pedestrian stepped up onto the pavement, completely unphased, and walked off looking for some other daredevil pursuit. Bungee jumping – huh, been there, done that, got the tee-shirt!

What struck me about this whole episode was the attitude of the pedestrian. He clearly believed that he was invulnerable. He must have thought that the taxi would have come off worse if there had been a collision. Now, I am certainly not advocating that you go test a taxi’s braking systems. However, there is something to be said for this invulnerability thing. If you look at people that do extraordinary things, they often have this very same attitude. It’s not that they are invulnerable, it’s that they act as if they are. I remember reading, once, that we should all ask the question, “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” and then go and do it. So, take a leaf out of this pedestrian’s book and ask that question. You will surprise yourself at just how brave you can be!