Are there times when you think you really could be losing your mind? Like when you get home from the weekly shopping trip to the grocery store and, after unloading the car, you realize there were some items you really wanted to buy on this trip and you totally forgot to pick them up? Let’s further set the mood for this moment by pointing out that it is raining cats and dogs out there and you really don’t want to get the car out of the garage for another trip to the store. Yup, there will be no eggs for breakfast in the morning, or bread for sandwiches at lunch.
I am glad I will have several frozen entrees that I won’t really need for a few weeks, and the ice cream sandwiches my waistline suggests would be better suited for someone else’s shopping cart. But, I’m really in a funk because my shopping trip didn’t end up with the things I intended to acquire … all because I kind of lost it mentally for about 30 minutes due to the distractions of some very good merchandising. Basically, I was detoured from my shopping objectives toward fulfilling the aspirations of other people who wanted me to buy their product.
Make a note: the store had everything I wanted in stock. All I had to do was put it in my basket and bring it home. My funk is not the store’s fault. I simply didn’t stay on course.
I see that same funky feeling with some pilots. A lot of the times you don't get exactly what you want out of aviation. We pilots (in all shapes, sizes, ages and qualifications), are all vulnerable to not getting what we want out of aviation. I have seen it with my own two eyes from young student pilots to 40-year airline-pilot veterans.
Students, for instance, have their heart broken and ultimately give up when pursuing the joy of flight. Their dreams are crushed by the high turnover rate of instructors and a feeling of not progressing to their dream. Recreational pilots often succumb to a lack of the social element in aviation. When recreational pilots look to share their passion with others they have nobody to turn to. Seasoned airline pilots have allowed the turbulent aviation industry to tear their families apart and jeopardize their financial well-being. I would imagine that if you were to talk to these people in aviation, they aren't getting exactly what they want out of aviation.
In reality, everybody in aviation has the ability to get exactly what they want. Just like they have the opportunity to get exactly what they want at the store. If you forget something at the store it’s your own fault. It isn't the store's fault, because they had everything that you wanted. It’s such a hard concept to acknowledge, but it's your own fault if you don't get exactly what you want from the store or even from aviation.
In the same way merchandising at the grocery store changes the shopper’s behavior to better suit the seller’s needs, aviation changes our behavior as pilots to get what it needs. In my opinion, it is important to turn the tables and use aviation back. Make sure you get exactly what you want from aviation. That’s only fair, because aviation gets exactly what it wants from you.
Student pilots can change instructors until they find one who connects with what the student wants to learn. Recreational pilots can join a flying club to find people who share their interests and provide the social relationship that helps pilots grow and improve their skills. And, seasoned professional pilots may require a change in employment to reduce their turmoil so they can regain control over their own lives.
I feel that is the way that you can get exactly what you want out of aviation. It’s hard work but it’s doable. If you feel bad about your opportunities in aviation, change the way you think about what is happening to you. Identify what changes you can make in your life to make flying more fun for you. It has been my experience that you will be rewarded with incredible opportunities that would never present themselves otherwise. Your future will be morefun-filled, because aviation can be FUN! And that’s most likely what you had on your list when you came into the world of aviation in the first place.
Yes, FUN should be in aisle #1.