Zen At The Airport

“You can learn a lot at a full-service counter at the airport, particularly on a snowy day.

Some travelers are adroit at navigating the outcomes dealt to them by weather and scheduling snafus.  Others completely melt down.  And the result of the emotional crash is that these travelers do a poor job of making new plans.

The woman in front of me isn’t going to make it to her flight to Florida.  Planes leave, planes don’t leave.  There’s nothing she can do about this.  But she’s unable to accept the world as it is, so she has a meltdown.  Instead of calmly looking at the situation, quickly switching to a different airline, and moving on (which would have led to her arriving in Palm Beach only ten minutes late), she needs to deny the truth about her flight and the motivation of the person who canceled it.  Then she needs someone to blame.  Her emotional connection to the outcome blinds her to the choices that are available to her.

In this moment, she had a choice.  She could remain attached to the outcome she was in hate with, or she could have a moment of prajna, an acceptance of the world as it is, regardless of how she wants it to be.

Forty years ago, Richard Branson, who ultimately founded Virgin Air, found himself in a similar situation in an airport in the Caribbean.  They had just canceled his flight, the only flight that day. Instead of freaking out about how essential the flight was, how badly his day was ruined, how his entire career was now in jeopardy, the young Branson walked across the airport to the charter desk and inquired about the cost of a chartering a flight out of Puerto Rico.

Then he borrowed a portable blackboard and wrote, “Seats to Virgin Islands, $39.”  He went back to his gate, sold enough seats to his fellow passengers to completely cover his costs, and made it home on time. Not to mention planting the seeds for the airline he’d start decades later.  Sounds like the kind of person you’d like to hire.”

Excerpt from Linchpin by Seth Godin

Think about that story for a minute.  How many times in your day do you look to blame someone else instead of accepting things for what they are and finding a way to a solution?  This simple mindset change could make all the difference.  This is what could set you apart.  This is what could make you indispensable to your company, your family or to the world.


2 comments so far

  1. Rima on

    i didnt know u had a blog…nice work….

  2. Nick on

    Thanks Chad, needed this today.

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