During the past two weeks I’ve had the opportunity of being in more than 8 airplanes and 6 cities in less than 2 weeks, which has given me the opportunity of meditating about a video I had seen a few months ago.
In the video, which I found in Ted’s YouTube channel, I had the opportunity of listening to a conference given by Rick Elias, President of his own company and who was one of the passengers in flight 1549 that fell into the Hudson River in New York in January 2009.
During his speech he talked about the 3 lessons he learned in that moment in which he felt his life was about to end.
Following his train of thought, considering which could be the lessons we could learn with the simple act of flying, without being in a life and death situation, I thought of my 7 lessons in flying.
1. Patience – this human quality will be put to the test automatically from the moment we arrive at the airport. First, if you have a big luggage to have to stand in line to get to the airlines counter, followed by the line in security, which depending on what day it is could last from 10 minutes to a few hours. After that we have to wait in order to board the plane and the worst it that one we reach our seat we might have a young child close by screaming, or someone next to you falls asleep and snores in your ear, or you can come across those who travel with lots of carry on and have them everywhere, or those that hit you with their luggage or bag, and lets not forget the line and the wait in order to leave the plane once we get to our destination.
2. Acceptance – there is a famous saying that reads “it’s not the same and it’s not written the same”. This word literally means accept people just how they are. When we travel we hardly know who is going to seat beside us, there is always a variety of personalities we come across in every flight, there are those overweight, elderly people hard of listening and that are constantly asking you things or feel alone or afraid that they just talk and there are those that just talk nonstop.
3. Appreciation – “One doesn’t know what one has until one loses it”, but when one travels we don’t lose it, but in fact start to see the advantages, blessings and the abundance in which we live in. At the same time it gives us the opportunity of appreciating what we have and what we take for granted. Also, those who speak a language different from ours, we see how a new world of opportunities opens up and grants more knowledge and at the same time helps appreciate ours.
4. Time – This word normally is not in our vocabulary but its curious how when we travel it becomes one of our favorite words. From “we have tome for ourselves”, “how good it is to have time to do…”. Traveling gives us the opportunity of clearing our minds and has the time to do things we enjoy, like: reading, writing or simply not doing anything.
5. Happiness – It is the most normal feeling we have upon reaching our destiny. In some occasions it combines with the feeling that a loved one is waiting for you and surprises you with a banner that says “You are home!”, “Welcome back”, “Welcome home”, or it might be that you are simply fulfilling a wish. Whatever it is, the happiness you feel is incomparable.
6. Selfishness – It’s curious how one never thinks that this word could have a positive meaning, but in case of emergency when the oxygen mask is activated one has, without any other option, put on your own mask first and then help others put theirs. We forget that this action should be the norm most of the time, in which we cannot help anyone else, if we don’t help, love and consider ourselves first.
7. Flexibility – Nowadays it’s normal for a flight to be delayed, there are changes in the times, unexpected changes and the worst of it all is we don’t have control over them.
People usually travel to visit someone, or they are moving, or for a business trip or for vacations.
What is interesting about all this is that it doesn’t matter the reason we are traveling, we have the opportunity of learning lessons that not only will help us in our daily lives but also will help us see things from another perspective.
What if next time we have the opportunity to travel we give ourselves the opportunity to grow as human beings and realize how privileged we are.