Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take Off Towards a Full Life

Not sure if my wife and I are the only ones in TV Land that watch ABC's PanAm on Sunday nights, but there was an extremely metaphoric event for Lifting your life a few weeks back.

To give you some back story, the PanAm flight of the week was headed down to South America when a passenger on board had a heart attack and they were forced to land in Haiti at an old dilapidated airport that was shut down for the night. As predicted, the crew got in touch with someone on the ground who then switched on the runway lights just in the nick of time for a successful landing. Once on the ground the co-pilot and one of the stewardesses took off into the night in search of a doctor to help their ailing passenger.

Fast forward to the end of the episode when the flight crew realizes the runway is damaged to the point where it is too short to take off given the weight of the passengers, their bags, and the fuel on board. In attempt to lighten the load they ditch all of the bags on the tarmac and begin to burn off fuel in an effort to (hopefully) get to an acceptable takeoff weight. Sure enough, when the bad rebels are storming the airfield to try and seize the airplane, the pilot hits the throttle and barely scrapes off the ground for a flight back to a more friendly location.

There is a great lessoned to be learned from this failed flight to South America as it relates to improving our daily lives in that we are often allocating too much mental energy to certain events from our past or general themes that it restricts us from taking off towards our dreams.

Take the theme of social acceptance as an example. From the time we are in grade school through the end of our lives there will be some part of us that thinks about measuring up to our peers or society in general:
  • Do I have more friends than average?
  • Am I in better shape than people my age?
  • Is my retirement lifestyle better than my friends?

Or look at an "if only" event from your past:
  • "If only I would have sold when the market peaked I wouldn't be in this financial mess"

When we let these thoughts run our lives they become bigger and bigger users of our mental energy. Since we only have so much mental energy in a day that means that other, more productive uses for that energy are being neglected.

Say the energy you allocate to your passion.

Or the energy it takes to stay present in a conversation with a loved one.

While the effort to come to terms with an event in your past or to unwind these habits is not small, you can start chipping away at these thoughts by becoming aware of their presence. When you catch yourself you will start to notice their destructive tendencies and feel empowered to win back that wasted energy.

And a funny thing happens when you start allocating your new found energy to things you love:

Lift off...

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