Beyond Impressions: Finding Reality in Flight and Life

Beyond Impressions: Finding Reality in Flight and Life

Hi Reader,

Hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a busy one for me up in the air, with a few unexpected challenges and some rewarding moments. Let’s dive into some thoughts on maintaining a clear mindset in the face of both challenges and successes.

Flying offers a remarkable sense of freedom and a unique perspective, with the world spread out below. However, this freedom comes with significant responsibility and the need for a focused mindset, both in the cockpit and in everyday life.

Achieving excellence in aviation, like any other field, demands exceptional effort. It’s not just about mastering the technical skills or knowing the aircraft inside out. It's about a commitment to continuous improvement and being prepared to make sacrifices. Sometimes, it means giving up things entirely or putting them on hold. For a pilot, this might mean missing out on social events or personal hobbies due to the rigorous demands of training and duty schedules. The pursuit of high ideals in aviation isn't just about aiming for career advancements or higher ranks. It's about cultivating the qualities that ensure safety, freedom, and true happiness.

Focusing solely on gaining positions of power and wealth within aviation can be a slippery slope. There are countless external factors, like the job market or industry regulations, that are beyond personal control. Aiming for these positions is fine, but true satisfaction comes from qualities within, such as competence, integrity, and resilience. These attributes make a great pilot and ensure a fulfilling career, regardless of external circumstances.

Remember, this is just an impression, not the reality it appears to be!

When confronted with distressing thoughts or challenging situations, maintaining perspective is crucial. In aviation, stress and unexpected issues are part of the job. Picture yourself mid-flight, dealing with an unexpected technical fault or another operational issue. Your initial reaction might be stress or anxiety, but it's important to understand that this is just an impression—essentially, your mind's immediate and often exaggerated response to the situation. The reality often isn’t as bad as our initial reaction thinks it is. Recognising this can help you to assess the situation more calmly and objectively.

One useful method is to assess whether the concern is within your control. Ask, "Does this involve something I can influence, or is it beyond my power?" If it’s something like a mechanical failure, there's a structured process and training to handle it. Focus on what can be controlled: following protocols, staying calm, and making informed decisions. If it’s something beyond control, like a sudden change in air traffic instructions, understand that it's irrelevant to stress over it. Accept it as part of the broader flying environment and adjust accordingly.

This approach isn’t limited to the cockpit. It’s just as valuable in everyday life. Consider a situation where there's a delay in a promotion or your flight roster. It’s easy to become frustrated or disheartened. But by reminding oneself that the situation is beyond personal control, it’s easier to let go of the frustration and focus on aspects that can be influenced, like continuing to excel in current duties and staying prepared for future opportunities.

Cultivating this mindset takes practice, but it’s incredibly empowering. It transforms challenges into manageable tasks and reduces unnecessary stress. It's about maintaining a clear perspective and not letting emotions cloud judgment, which is vital both in the cockpit and in life.

In a previous blog post, "Navigating the Skies and Life: Embracing What’s Within Your Control" the emphasis was on identifying the difference between what’s in our control and what isn’t. This dovetails perfectly with the mindset required for aviation. By focusing on the present moment and handling each situation as it comes, one can achieve a state of mental clarity that is essential for safe and effective flying.

Aiming high in aviation requires dedication and a willingness to make sacrifices. Positions of power and wealth are not guaranteed, and focusing on them can detract from the qualities that truly matter. By managing thoughts and stress, and distinguishing between what can and cannot be controlled, it's possible to navigate both the skies and life with greater freedom and happiness. This balanced approach not only makes for a better pilot but also a more content and resilient individual.

Here are three action points for the week ahead:

  1. Identify Your Priorities: Make a list of your current goals and responsibilities, both in aviation and in personal life. Prioritise them based on what’s within your control and what isn’t. Focus your efforts on the top priorities that you can influence.
  2. Practice Mindful Flying: During your next flight, consciously apply the principle of distinguishing between impressions and reality. When encountering a stressful situation, take a moment to remind yourself that it’s just an impression and focus on what you can control.
  3. Reflect and Adjust: At the end of each day, take a few minutes to reflect on the challenges you faced. Evaluate how well you managed your thoughts and actions based on what was within your control. Use these reflections to make adjustments for the following day.

Taking a moment to jot down these reflections in a journal can be incredibly helpful. It doesn’t have to be extensive—just a few notes can make a big difference. This simple practice can provide clarity and keep you on track, both in the air and on the ground.

Have a happy and safe week.

Kia kaha.

Mark and the team from Perspectives and Pilot Life Training

View our past emails on the web

We have rebranded from to

Same friendly team. Same great courses. Just a new name!

PO Box 1604, Brisbane, QLD 4509
Unsubscribe · Preferences

Pilot Perspectives

Welcome to "Pilot Perspectives," crafted for the next generation of pilots by the team at Pilot Life Training. Our blog brings you a blend of expert knowledge and practical advice, essential for navigating your aviation career. Written by experienced pilots and industry professionals, our content focuses on more than just technical know-how – it's about building a resilient, well-rounded aviator. Join us as we guide you through the complexities and joys of the aviation world, supported by the expertise behind our trusted online aviation courses. Get these in your email inbox each Monday. Subscribe now.

Read more from Pilot Perspectives

Airmanship Essentials (Part 1): Building the Foundation for Excellence Hi Reader, Welcome to the first in our series of newsletters focusing on a cornerstone of aviation that defines every great pilot: Airmanship. This series aims to help you incorporate the essential elements of airmanship into your professional life. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting your aviation journey, these principles apply to pilots at all levels of their careers. As the series progresses, we will...

Navigating the Skies and Life: Embracing What’s Within Your Control Hi Reader, It's been a few months since the last newsletter, and it's good to be back. The past few months have been incredibly busy, flying the line and tackling the day-to-day challenges of our profession. Between long flights, unexpected career diversions, and the usual hustle of life, finding time for writing has been a challenge. Everyone's lives are busy, and as pilots, juggling the demands of our jobs with personal...

Mystery at Auckland International: A Puzzle in the Skies Listen to this on the Pilot Life Podcast. Hi Reader, Hope you had a fabulous weekend. Also hope you like a good puzzle! Whispered among the echoing calls of Auckland International Airport is a challenge that's anything but ordinary. Hidden in plain sight, a question simmers beneath the surface, targeting those with a knack for unraveling mysteries. It's not about the destinations or the jet engines' roar but a deeper inquiry into the...