I wanted to start with this theme of piloting because it seems like a positive metaphor for thinking about our roles in everyday life. Why do I care? Pilots are the leaders and we should all be leaders of our own lives, right!
It seems to me that when you are starting out these days, be it during school or university or the first job, you are rarely encouraged to be pilots. Not only in the institutions or companies but at home too. And it's a shame! We need to encourage everyone (and mainly kids) to be pilots as often as possible.
(wiki) A pilot is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft by operating its directional flight controls.
(dictionary) A pilot is a person who steers a ship through a difficult stretch of water, for example the entrance to a harbour.
The pilot is the person controlling the flight and steering the ships through difficulties. That is Your life or my life. We must be the ones navigating the ship!
There's a lot of talk about how we will all one day become leaders (= pilots). Certainly, at any school or university, they talk about it a lot. Yet most of the time they'll reward you for being an engineer or just a doer. Basically the exact opposite. An engineer is a person who solves problems others throw at you and a doer just does what he/she is told.
But let's stay positive and talk about the pilot's metaphor in the context of our lives. What does it mean to be a pilot in practice? It means you are the person imagining, evaluating, and choosing the target and the direction to go. You choose that direction because you believe (for now) it's the right direction for reaching your target. You follow it until you know about a better way. You know the answer to the key question - Why do I want to go there? Why is this destination important to me and others? If you know the answer to this question then you become convinced and unshakable.
Knowing your Why? does not mean you know all the answers to the question How? How will you get to the endpoint is a completely different question. It means you are willing to take the responsibility for the direction and for sharing the answer to questions Why?. Knowing answers just to these questions does not make you a pilot though. You need one more key component - you need to take an action!
For example, you are a pilot when you start a company, or when you create a charity market to support local elderly homes, or when you start building a rocket to go to Mars, or when you organize a student watch group to stop bullying at your school.
When you know the answer to Why? questions and you lead with the idea and action then you are a pilot!
As I see it, each one of us should be encouraged to be a pilot as often as possible. Especially at a young age. It might be scary at first but it's a great feeling too. Rewards in terms of learning to figure things out and seeing your idea grow (and sometimes fail) are priceless.
Just take a moment now and think about a project or a task you are planning to work on today; are you a pilot?
If the answer is YES - then you will learn that you can do things your way. It may not be the best way at first and you may fail. But it does not matter because you will know why things happened and there will be no one else to blame. That way you will not feel helpless and betrayed by the system. You will feel strong because you could control or navigate things your way. Such experiences will give you unbelievable strength and motivation for the next thing to do, that you will not want it any other way.
That's why you want to by a pilot of your life today, tomorrow and every other day!
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