I’m a terrible flyer and it seems to get worse every year, every flight. I clinch the seat in front of me and brace myself with the seatbelt as tight as I can pull it. When the plane touches the ground, I feel a sweet release and my entire body uncoils. Every flight is the same. As soon as the wheels leave the ground, any calmness turns to clamminess.
I have a strategy for flying, really for all emotions, that often works. The underlying concept is you are emotional when you aren’t being rational, so you have to be more rational. Emotions don’t involve thinking; they are feelings. When you think, you can generally dismantle feelings. When I get mad, I ask myself tough questions that make me think. When I’m sad, I pose hard questions to find the source. As I move from only feeling to thinking, I find greater calmness in my rational thoughts.
That’s my strategy for flying: get thinking and curb the emotions. I disrupt a three-seat radius until I find thoughtful conversation.
I met a fellow on a recent flight. He runs a website for a news group. We started talking about how some people comment on news articles with crushing force, being mean and taking shots. It’s not everyone of course, but there are a lot of people that do. Is it the anonymity that drives it or is there really a bunch of mean people out there that mask it when you meet them in person?
We settled on this; people are nicer to one another in person. There’s increased accountability and, after all, it’s harder to dislike people when you are face to face with them. It’s an easy thing to forget in business too, things go better when you meet with people face to face. I guess it’s all full circle as that’s what put me on the plane to begin with.
David Cain works at Magnitude, a sales and marketing agency. Contact David at [email protected].