In life, there are any number of crossovers between where we learn certain lessons and where we can apply them. The natural world also has a great deal to teach us about the unwritten rules of life. There are rules of business that also apply to our personal relationships, rules of physics that also apply to finance and what our kids have to teach us can also help us succeed in our adult relationships. Flying is no different. Being a pilot has a number of life lessons to teach. Here are three.
All of life is a trade-off
In the world of aviation, trade-offs abound. To gain one thing, you must sacrifice another. Higher payload decreases speed and fuel efficiency and for best fuel efficiency at a higher payload, you have to sacrifice speed. There is a common phrase used in business, which is “good, fast, cheap: pick two.” In life you can have anything you want, but you can’t have it all. Invariably, life forces you to pick one or two of the most important things and sacrifice the rest. Just like life, flying airplanes is all about trade-offs.
Worrying doesn’t solve anything – and neither does panic.
One thing any pilot is constantly aware of is that anything can go wrong at any time and risks are always higher when you are thousands of feet in the air. A flashing red light in a car might be a cause for concern but not necessarily alarm. For the most part, you just have to pull to the side of the road, but you are still on terra firma the whole time. Not so in an airplane. Worrying, however, doesn’t do anything but keep you grounded. Pilots know the risks, they accept the risks, they do their due diligence – and then they get up in the air, risks and all.
They train for events like engine failures and flashing red lights so they don’t panic when it happens. Pilots are trained to stay focused and work through the problem rather than panicking. This is a skill that carries them through almost any problem, in the sky or on the ground.
Life is not fair
Most pilots know someone who has died in a crash. Many times, these pilots are some of the most careful pilots in aviation, studiously checking every nut and bolt of their craft before alighting into the skies. Most pilots also know of careless pilots who sail through their pre-flight checks with an alarming lack of proper attention; and yet, they just keep flying year after year. Life is not fair. There is no accounting for who succeeds and who fails. You just have to keep doing your own rigorous pre-flight checks and try not to fly with those who don’t.