Use Flight Time To Gain Perspective

People often talk about how important it is to gain a “30,000 foot view” of life goals. People usually only mean “30,000 foot” metaphorically.

I take things a bit more literally.

When I fly now, I often find myself gaining new levels of clarity, perspective, passion, and purpose about my life.

Key ingredients? The mix starts when I enter the airport. I’m immediately invigorated by the activity of people going all over the world, the challenge of getting to my plane on time, and the harrowing experience of getting through security. My mind and body are already transported by the time I get to the plane.

On the plane, I have a blissful state of internet disconnection, a cramped seat, and the urge to make the most of the time I have.

Thanks to all of this, for a few hours, I’m separated from the concerns of the world, unreachable, and mostly undistracted.

My mind turns to a few places in this state:

  • My notebook – where I’ll write down ideas (of all kinds) and plan out my days ahead
  • Music – which provides accompaniment to the thrill of takeoff
  • Books – which I may only take the time to read while flying
  • In-flight entertainment  – even the on-flight movies and travel-focused magazine give me a chance to engage my imagination about the kind of life I want to live

While I’m jotting down ideas, or reading, or watching a film, or – more likely – doing some combination of all three, my mind finds the freedom it needs to analyze my life.

I think about how it could be better: I plan to finally return those post office box keys, to finally read about short story writing, to start learning that second language. This goes into the notebook.

I think about where I’ve been: I might experience gratitude for getting on the plane on time, but I might also then take a breath to realize that I’ve survived 4.5 years of working at a fast-paced company that I love.

I think about where I’m going: I game-plan out what I’m going to do when I land, and when I return home – like getting my church’s podcast sorted out, or finally launching the side project podcast I’ve been thinking about.

I embrace the distance between my thoughts and the hard ground. And when I land, I feel like I’m leaving the airport on a mission.

You should try it sometime.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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