skip to Main Content

Tip: Think like a fighter pilot!

Years ago, I read an article in a magazine that gave me a “guiding concept” for the rest of my life. It was written by a fighter pilot who was explaining the process by which he had been trained. I was fascinated as I read the story. The author explained how most of his training focused on what could go wrong. Although much attention was also given to learning how to do things right, that was not the primary focus of his training. He had to constantly be aware of the unlimited number of variables that could go wrong as he flew his plane. He had to consider what to do in case there was a fire on board since his plane was full of jet fuel. Or what to do in case of an emergency that would force him to eject from his seat. He always had to be aware that he was flying with high-powered missiles on board that could potentially explode at any moment. In addition to that, there was also the challenge of a possible enemy attack while he was in flight. He went into great detail as to all the possible things that could go wrong. Then, at the end of the article, he concluded by saying that he was grateful that he had been trained in that manner because, although he never had to use any of those tips, he was prepared for any situation that arose. He always felt safe because he knew his options if things went wrong.

This pilot went on to talk about how in life, business, and relationships, we have very little training in handling what could go wrong. We tend to focus on how wonderful we expect things to be. However, for those of us who have experienced life long enough, we have learned that some things can and will go wrong in business or in relationships. Unfortunately, there is very little training that we receive prior to the time things go wrong or in how to avoid trouble in the first place. Therefore, we often panic. You see, it is natural to panic when you are not prepared.

I am amazed when I stop to think about what takes place on an average day in my life. Although there are many things that go right and are wonderful, there are usually several surprises along the way. Last week, a hotel completely changed my contractual agreement with them because they made a scheduling mistake. Sure, I could create a big fight with them, but I needed to quickly resolve the situation, find another hotel, and spend my time on more important matters.

Because I read that article years ago, I have trained my mind to daily look for the endless possibilities of what might go wrong. Fortunately, it has not created a negative attitude in me or caused me to look at life’s “dark” side. Rather, it has caused me to develop a positive attitude and look at the “what if” side of life. Because I am aware that there is potential danger involved in business and personal relationships, it has caused me to be more careful, less bitter, and make quicker adjustments as I travel on the road of life.

Think about the last situation you were involved in that caught you off guard. Did you have any training to prepare you beforehand? Had you ever been warned that the possibility could exist? Had you ever considered that what you thought was such a wonderful situation could turn sour so quickly? Again, this is not to be negative or discouraging. It is just a fact. If we learn to look for the possible dangers that are in life, we will be much more prepared when they unexpectedly appear.

We have all heard of the ostrich who stuck his head in the sand because he did not want anyone to see him. Yet, 95% of him is still exposed. We can stick our heads in the sand if we want to, but challenges will still come our way.

Let me encourage you to look more closely at the wonderful situations you now find yourself in. Ask yourself what could possibly go wrong. Don’t do it in a way that makes you feel negative, discouraged, or bitter. Instead, look at it to see how you could be aware of danger approaching and what you could do to protect the situation.

Again, I am grateful for the article I read so many years ago. It has built in me a mindset of being proactive when it comes to the possibility of things going wrong or falling apart. I want to fly my life as a “successful pilot,” and the only way I can do that is to be aware of the possible dangers out there. It makes the trip a whole lot more enjoyable!

Tip: Think like a fighter pilot!

Have a great week! God bless you!

Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.

Robert Rohm

Top selling author and speaker, Robert Rohm Ph.D. is founder of Personality Insights Inc. and The Robert Rohm Co. As you will see, Dr. Rohm specializes in helping people better understand themselves and others.

Back To Top