Flying high: Helpless no more
As you journey through life, it is seldom possible to ever be in complete control. There is always something that is out of your control and mine.
Accidents happen. Storms hit. Cancer strikes. Friends move away. People die, etc. Having said that, it is rarely necessary to be completely helpless and dependent either.
Infants are helpless; grown adults should not be, or at least not most of the time.
Sitting back in your seat, resting, as the 747 roars and rattles down the runway, is to experience what it is like to be helpless as an adult. No wonder so many are afraid to fly. Pilots are particular people: they never let their passengers drive. They insist on sitting behind the controls, and pushing all the fancy buttons, all by themselves. To fly is to place your life temporarily in your pilots hands. You have no other choice but to sit passively while the captain is in full control. This might be a good idea, but then again it might not. Who knows? The uncertainty is frightening.
As your plane takes flight, questions fill your mind in rapid succession: Did your pilots get enough sleep last night? They sure looked tired greeting the passengers. Did they have anything suspicious to drink this morning? Just coffee? Is he emotionally stable? Today would not be a good day for a mental breakdown. Is she physically healthy? How long has he been a pilot? Is she really who she claims to be? Do they text all their friends while they fly? And finally: Why don’t they just clear out of the cockpit and let me drive? But that could be scary too. Oh, yes it would.
An old story from the old country (from the perspective of some North Americans) describes how dangerous it can be to just be a helpless passenger on a long trip. Two older men were flying from New York to Oslo, Norway, when two explosions shook the their plane. “We just lost one engine on each side,” the pilot said calmly over the intercom. “Do not worry. Everything is under control. We still have two good engines. There will, however, be a 2 hour delay.”
One hour later, 34,0000 feet over the Atlantic ocean, another engine blew. BAM! “We lost our third engine,” the pilot said, trying to sound calm and composed. “Do not be alarmed. Expect a 3 hour delay.” Twenty minutes later…KABOOM! Everyone on board inhales, and people are about to panic, as Ole turns to Sven and says, “Oh no, now we’ll be stuck up here forever.”
Realizing that you are in a very dangerous situation and feeling out of control can motivate you to grasp at as much control as you possibly can in other areas of your life. This is futile. Pointless. For you will always be exposed to the positive or negative influence of other peoples actions. Life is full of risk and it will never be completely under your control. But as you develop your career, and journey through life, it is helpful to recognize the importance of having a measure of control over your life. The pendulum does not have to swing in the opposite direction to the opposite extreme.
So here are four things you can do to gain back a healthy measure of control in your life if you feel like you have lost it. And yes, this list is brought to you by the letter “D.” All of the other letters in the alphabet must be very, very sad. For the record, if you have been to Career & Life Direction a few times before, you will notice that none of this is entirely new.
1. Determine your career direction
It is painful to put it in such plain terms, but the goal this website is not primarily to get you to read one message after another, until the end of time, about your career and life direction. What would be the point of that? Actually pursuing your God-given potential is much more important than just reading about it here or somewhere else.
One spin-off of doing something concrete, is that you will gain a greater degree of healthy control in your life. Think about it. Who has more power? The 35-year-old guy living in his parents’ basement with little to offer in terms of marketable skills, or someone with a tangible career and clear direction in life?
2. Discover and be yourself
A few resources and a considerable amount of verbal encouragement here at CLD will hopefully inspire you to get to know yourself better than you have before. This new knowledge will empower you to make significant life decisions that are more of a fit with who you are. Being able to say, “I am going this way and not that way!” is huge.
Suddenly your life has a greater sense of focus, and it becomes more difficult to be tossed this way and that and bossed around. To be fair, most people in your life to not likely intend to run your life. Out in the ocean, by way of comparison, the waves just do what they do. It is the ship that is adrift that really has the problem
3. Defend your personal boundaries
This title is not ment to suggest images of aggression and hostility. It is intended, rather, to encourage you to continue to be yourself when you bump into people who don’t respect who you are or what you do. This will happen. Remember, their lack of respect for your dignity as a unique human being is their problem not yours. Often this takes place because of deep insecurities; so don’t be too hard on someone who is pushing and pressing you down while promoting themselves.
At the same time, don’t confuse humility with becoming invisible. You matter. Your life matters. Your contribution matters. Make sure that you show up for your own life.
4. Develop your worldview
If you think that every belief system or religion or worldview is pure propaganda, or just a matter of personal choice, you may tend to tune-out right about now. I don’t. So here is a suggestion, or if you like, some advice: Don’t let other people (media people, university people, publishing people, etc.) push you around, telling you what to think and feel and believe and exactly how to live. Take some time, perhaps a lot of time, to investigate and think for yourself.
Nowadays, a lot of people in the West – even some who attend church on a regular basis – have, say, a grade three understanding of their Christian heritage and a grade ten comprehension of the latest naturalistic philosophy of life. If this imbalance describes your situation, something needs to change.
Everybody enjoys little children. But children all need to grow up some day and become adults.
© Career & Life Direction 2012. All rights reserved.