Wednesday, 20 March 2013
When we start to have negative thoughts, it’s hard to stop them. And it’s much easier said than done to shift your focus to positive thoughts. But, it’s the only way—especially if you want to avoid going down a path that is painful and unnecessary.
THINGS TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
1. Meditate or do yoga.
Yoga is very relaxing which helps easing mind. Yoga helps to stay present to my experience so instead of jumping to what could happen.
2. Smile and try humour
.It takes fewer muscles to smile tthan to frown.It can be really difficult to stay positive when there is little humor or lightness in your life. Even when you are facing challenges, it is important to stay open to laughter and humor. Sometimes, simply recognizing the potential humor in a situation can lessen your stress and brighten your outlook. Seeking out sources of humor such as watching a funny sitcom or reading jokes online can help you think more positive thoughts.
3. Surround yourself with positive people and images.
When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking.
They could be famous quotes, inspiring pictures, or even your affirmations that you write out on note cards. The point is to always have physical reminders of things you deem positive close by. Print these items out and place them by your desk, near your bed, and in the car! When you get stressed out, give a glance to them and you will begin to get perspective on things and your mind will re-focus!
4. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive.Use Positive Language.
When it comes to the language we use, world-renowned author and lecturer Dr. Susan Jeffers says: “It doesn’t matter if we believe the words or not, the mere uttering of them makes the subconscious mind believe them to be true. It is as though the subconscious mind doesn’t know what is true or false, it doesn’t judge, it only reacts to the language that is being fed”. Many researchers have shown this sentiment to be quite valid, and we must intentionally start using more positive language to shape the worldview of our subconscious mind.
5. Don’t play the victim. You create your life—take responsibility.
There is always a way out.Always have the choice to make change happen, if need be.Take Responsibility: It’s All about You
One of the most common forms of negative thinking involves placing blame on other things. Of course, we all do this. We point the finger at anything but ourselves at times. This is an easy path to take and a difficult habit to break. By placing the blame for something that is bad on someone else, you take the attention off of yourself. This, of course, is only a temporary fix. Even when we place the blame one someone else, that negative energy is still there. Turing the attention away from ourselves can never lead to a successful solution. After you have worked to become more self aware, you have to learn to take responsibility for your feelings, actions, and thoughts. By taking responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and emotions, they become something that you can control and change. Part of placing blame is believing you are powerless. Take responsibility for yourself and, in turn, gain control of yourself. Only after you admit fault and take responsibility for yourself and your thinking can you successfully alter the way you think and act.
6. Help someone.
Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person.
7. Move forward.
Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward.It’s easy to dwell on your mistakes.Just move forward. I definitely don’t want to have a weekend like that again.
8. Music and singing.
Sing.When we sing, we show our feelings and this provides an amazing stress relief.Listen to Inspirational Talks and Music in the Car
The car is the perfect place to flex your muscle of positive thought! Because many of us spend a lot of time driving, make an effort to listen to music that inspires you and makes you feel good. Purchase motivational personal development CD’s and play them while driving.
9. List five things that you are grateful for right now.Being grateful helps appreciate what you already have.
10. Read positive quotes.Use Verbal Affirmations EVERY Day.
An affirmation is a positive statement that something is already happening, and is a very powerful tool you can use to shift your internal dialogue from negative to positive. Come up with a few statements like “I am creating a beautiful day” or “money and success flow to me” and spend 10 minutes every morning (and every night for extra credit) saying them aloud. Come up with statements that make the most sense for you, and be sure to state them in the present tense, and in a positive form. This is self-talk in its highest sense, and can be very effective.
11. Create a Vision Board
A vision board is the physical manifestation of the life you want to be leading. Find images of the house you desire, the places you want to travel, and the job you crave to work and tack them to a corkboard! Be creative and place words and images that are accurate expressions of your inner-most desires.
12. Cultivate Optimism
Learning to think positive is like strengthening a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it will become. Researchers believe that your explanatory style, or how you explain events, is linked to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Optimists tend to have a positive explanatory style. If you attribute good things that happen to your own skill and effort, then you are probably an optimist. Pessimists, on the other hand, usually have a negative attributional style. If you credit these good events to outside forces, then you likely have a more pessimistic way of thinking.Constantly add to your vision board put it somewhere you can see it several times a day– even spend a few moments visualizing what it would be like to be living in this life you created. Isn’t this a better way to spend time than in your usual stress mode?
13. Be Aware: Hear Yourself
Self awareness is an essential step in any form of self improvement. You have to be aware of yourself and the things around you before you can understand them and then learn to change and improve them. Before you can learn to alter your way of thinking you have to be aware of how you think in the first place. Take the time to monitor your thoughts and feeling carefully. Listen to yourself throughout the day. When doing this you may be surprised to find just how much thinking you do that you are not completely aware of throughout the day. Pay attention to those negative beliefs you hold that pop up without you realizing it, listen for negative thoughts, watch for negative actions (and reactions), and pay close attention to negative feelings that arise. All of these things are utterly important to be aware of. You should work hard to be conscience of the vocabulary you use throughout the day. Start by simply changing the words you use. Rather than saying “I have my job,” try rewording and rethinking things to say “I would love to find a new career”. While this may sound trite, merely changing the vocabulary you use is a great start to positive thinking.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST
Say “Thank You” 50 Times a Day
Every night before you go to bed, spend 5 minutes saying thank you out loud for the experiences you had that day: the people you interacted with, the work you accomplished, the food you ate, etc…As you do this, really try and feel the gratitude emanate from within. You can also say thank you 50 times in the morning and get yourself in an extremely grateful mindset for the coming day. These are wonderful practices for becoming more positive!
The phrase “positive thinking” has become somewhat of a buzzword in a lot of ways in our culture today. So many books and experts suggest “positive thinking” as a solution to low self esteem and confidence issues without ever really exploring what the phrase means.
Positive thinking involves much more than just deciding one day that you will change the way you think. Obviously, altering the way you think about yourself and the world around you is a difficult task. Oftentimes we fail to sit back and consider that the way in which we think about ourselves and the world very much shapes our world and our lives.
Negative thinking has a way of affecting every aspect of our lives without us even realizing it. So much of our happiness and our success rely on our ability to think positively and create positive situations. However, the trek to a positive attitude and positive self thought is no easy path. Follow these three steps in self improvement to gain the ability to think positively and create a new way of life.
Jagriti Srivastava [B.Tech ]
Web Developer / Blog Master
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
THINK OUT OF THE BOX
Thinking outside the box (also thinking out of the box or thinking beyond the box) is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking. The term is thought to derive from management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s challenging their clients to solve the "nine dots" puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking.
The catchphrase, or cliché, has become widely used in business environments, especially by management consultants and executive coaches, and has been referenced in a number of advertising slogans. To think outside the box is to look farther and to try not thinking of the obvious things, but to try thinking beyond them.
A simplified definition for paradigm is a habit of reasoning or a conceptual framework.
A simplified analogy is "the box" in the commonly used phrase "thinking outside the box". What is encompassed by the words "inside the box" is analogous with the current, and often unnoticed, assumptions about a situation. Creative thinking acknowledges and rejects the accepted paradigm to come up with new ideas.
NINE DOTS PUZZLE
The notion of something outside a perceived "box" is related to a traditional topographical puzzle called the nine dots puzzle.
The origins of the phrase "thinking outside the box" are obscure; but it was popularized in part because of a nine-dot puzzle, which John Adair claims to have introduced in 1969.Management consultant Mike Vance has claimed that the use of the nine-dot puzzle in consultancy circles stems from the corporate culture of the Walt Disney Company, where the puzzle was used in-house.
Christopher Columbus's Egg Puzzle as it appeared in Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of Puzzles.
The nine dots puzzle is much older than the slogan. It appears in Sam Loyd's 1914 Cyclopedia of Puzzles.In the 1951 compilation The Puzzle-Mine: Puzzles Collected from the Works of the Late Henry Ernest Dudeney, the puzzle is attributed to Dudeney himself.Sam Loyd's original formulation of the puzzle entitled it as "Christopher Columbus's egg puzzle." This was an allusion to the story of Egg of Columbus.
One of many solutions to the puzzle at the beginning of this article is to go beyond the boundaries to link all dots in 4 straight lines.
The puzzle proposed an intellectual challenge—to connect the dots by drawing four straight, continuous lines that pass through each of the nine dots, and never lifting the pencil from the paper. The conundrum is easily resolved, but only by drawing the lines outside the confines of the square area defined by the nine dots themselves. The phrase "thinking outside the box" is a restatement of the solution strategy. The puzzle only seems difficult because people commonly imagine a boundary around the edge of the dot array.The heart of the matter is the unspecified barrier which is typically perceived.
Ironically, telling people to "think outside the box" does not help them think outside the box, at least not with the 9-dot problem. This is due to the distinction between procedural knowledge (implicit or tacit knowledge) and declarative knowledge (book knowledge). For example, a non-verbal cue such drawing a square outside the 9 dots does allow people to solve the 9-dot problem better than average.However, a very particular kind of verbalization did indeed allow people to solve the problem better than average. This is to speak in a non-judgmental, free association style. These were the instructions in a study which showed facilitation in solving the 9-dot problem:
While solving the problems you will be encouraged to think aloud. When thinking aloud you should do the following: Say whatever’s on your mind. Don’t hold back hunches, guesses, wild ideas, images, plans or goals. Speak as continuously as possible. Try to say something at least once every five seconds. Speak audibly. Watch for your voice dropping as you become involved. Don’t worry about complete sentences or eloquence. Don’t over explain or justify. Analyze no more than you would normally. Don’t elaborate on past events. Get into the pattern of saying what you’re thinking about now, not of thinking for a while and then describing your thoughts. Though the experimenter is present you are not talking to the experimenter. Instead, you are to perform this task as if you are talking aloud to yourself.
This flexible English phrase is a rhetorical trope with a range of variant applications.
The metaphorical "box" in the phrase "outside the box" may be married with something real and measurable — for example, perceived budgetary or organizational constraints in a Hollywood development project. Speculating beyond its restrictive confines the box can be both:
(a) positive— fostering creative leaps as in generating wild ideas (the conventional use of the term); and
(b) negative— penetrating through to the "bottom of the box." James Bandrowski states that this could result in a frank and insightful re-appraisal of a situation, oneself, the organization, etc.
On the other hand, Bandrowski argues that the process of thinking "inside the box" need not be construed in a pejorative sense. It is crucial for accurately parsing and executing a variety of tasks — making decisions, analyzing data, and managing the progress of standard operating procedures, etc.
Hollywood screenwriter Ira Steven Behr appropriated this concept to inform plot and character in the context of a television series. Behr imagined a core character:
He is going to be "thinking outside the box," you know, and usually when we use that cliche, we think outside the box means a new thought. So we can situate ourselves back in the box, but in a somewhat better position.
The phrase can be used as a shorthand way to describe speculation about what happens next in a multi-stage design thinking process
WAYS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
1. Set parameters to focus your ideas. Ironically, too much freedom can hinder your creativity. Boundaries help your memory function, giving your ideas more depth and breadth. "Too many times, people start off really broad," Rossi says. "That's a lot of pressure. It's easier to anchor an idea somewhere."
As you brainstorm, focus your thinking by asking specific questions. For example, if you're looking for new marketing strategies, list ten things you could do on Facebook or five ideas that involve crowdsourcing. Play with a variety of prompts and write down whatever comes to mind, no matter how loosely associated.
2. Search for random inspiration. To think outside the box, you need to trigger your brain to make connections it normally wouldn't make. To do that, look for inspiration that seems entirely unrelated to the problem.
Rossi often prompts his team with unexpected words, like pineapple or sparkles for a car company. "Nine times out of 10, the ideas people are excited about are generated by the ridiculous random prompt," he says. To find prompts, look at popular photos on Pinterest and trending words on Twitter, or click 'I'm Feeling Lucky' in a Google search.
3. Aim for quantity, not quality. While you're generating ideas, turn off your internal editor. Exhaust your good ideas and start throwing out suggestions that seem absurd or wrong. Remember, you can always make a bad idea better after the fact.
Rossi finds that speed and friendly competition help people churn out ideas without judgment. Once, he put 100 one dollar bills in the center of a table and told his team they could take one every time they said an idea. "In 15 minutes, we came up with 100 ideas," he says. "Fifty of them were really interesting."
THE NEED FOR THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
The person at the top feels that the quality of solutions, services or ideas in vogue is not great. This stems from frustration. It also comes from people working in teams who feel that the contribution of others is not helping find new and original solutions to the challenges of the modern world.
Thinking outside the box requires different characteristics:
One should be willing to take new perspectives to day-to-day work.
One should be capable of thinking differently with an open mind, think about stuff with substance, and do things differently.
One must focus on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them.
One must strive to create value in newer ways.
One must be capable of listening to, supporting, nurturing and respecting others when they come up with new ideas.
Out-of-the box thinking requires openness to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore. 'Out of the box' thinkers know that new ideas need nurturing and support. They also know that having an idea is good, but acting on it is more important. Results are what count.
MORE WAYS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
1. Study another industry.
Go to the library and pick up a trade magazine in an industry other than your own, or grab a few books from the library, and learn about how things are done in other industries. You might find that many of the problems people in other industries face are similar to the problems in your own, but that they’ve developed really quite different ways of dealing with them. Or you might well find new linkages between your own industry and the new one, linkages that might well be the basis of innovative partnerships in the future.
2. Learn about another religion.
Religions are the way that humans organize and understand their relationships not only with the supernatural or divine but with each other. Learning about how such relations are structured can teach you a lot about how people relate to each other and the world around them. Starting to see the reason in another religion can also help you develop mental flexibility – when you really look at all the different ways people comprehend the same mysteries, and the fact that they generally manage to survive regardless of what they believe, you start to see the limitations of whatever dogma or doxy you follow, a revelation that will transfer quite a bit into the non-religious parts of your life.
3. Take a class.
Learning a new topic will not only teach you a new set of facts and figures, it will teach you a new way of looking at and making sense of aspects of your everyday life or of the society or natural world you live in. This in turn will help expand both how you look at problems and the breadth of possible solutions you can come up with.
4. Read a novel in an unfamiliar genre.
Reading is one of the great mental stimulators in our society, but it’s easy to get into a rut. Try reading something you’d never have touched otherwise – if you read literary fiction, try a mystery or science fiction novel; if you read a lot of hard-boiled detective novels, try a romance; and so on. Pay attention not only to the story but to the particular problems the author has to deal with. For instance, how does the fantasy author bypass your normal skepticism about magic and pull you into their story? Try to connect those problems to problems you face in your own field. For example, how might your marketing team overcome your audiences normal reticence about a new “miracle” product?
5. Write a poem.
While most problem-solving leans heavily on our brain’s logical centers, poetry neatly bridges our more rational left-brain though processes and our more creative right-brain processes. Though it may feel foolish (and getting comfortable with feeling foolish might be another way to think outside the box), try writing a poem about the problem you’re working on. Your poem doesn’t necessarily have to propose a solution – the idea is to shift your thinking away from your brain’s logic centers and into a more creative part of the brain, where it can be mulled over in a non-rational way. Remember, nobody has to ever see your poem…
6. Draw a picture.
Drawing a picture is even more right-brained, and can help break your logical left-brain’s hold on a problem the same way a poem can. Also, visualizing a problem engages other modes of thinking that we don’t normally use, bringing you another creative boost.
7. Turn it upside down.
Turning something upside-down, whether physically by flipping a piece of paper around or metaphorically by re-imagining it can help you see patterns that wouldn’t otherwise be apparent. The brain has a bunch of pattern-making habits that often obscure other, more subtle patterns at work; changing the orientation of things can hide the more obvious patterns and make other patterns emerge. For example, you might ask what a problem would look like if the least important outcome were the most important, and how you’d then try to solve it.
8. Work backwards.
Just like turning a thing upside down, working backwards breaks the brain’s normal conception of causality. This is the key to backwards planning, for example, where you start with a goal and think back through the steps needed to reach it until you get to where you are right now.
9. Ask a child for advice.
I don’t buy into the notion that children are inherently ore creative before society “ruins” them, but I do know that children think and speak with a n ignorance of convention that is often helpful. Ask a child how they might tackle a problem, or if you don’t have a child around think about how you might reformulate a problem so that a child could understand it if one was available. Don’t run out and build a boat made out of cookies because a child told you to, though – the idea isn’t to do what the child says, necessarily, but to jog your own thinking into a more unconventional path.
10. Invite randomness.
If you’ve ever seen video of Jackson Pollock painting, you have seen a masterful painter consciously inviting randomness into his work. Pollock exercises a great deal of control over his brushes and paddles, in the service of capturing the stray drips and splashes of paint that make up his work. Embracing mistakes and incorporating them into your projects, developing strategies that allow for random input, working amid chaotic juxtapositions of sound and form – all of these can help to move beyond everyday patterns of thinking into the sublime.
11. Take a shower.
There’s some kind of weird psychic link between showering and creativity. Who knows why? Maybe it’s because your mind is on other things, maybe it’s because you’re naked, maybe it’s the warm water relaxing you – it’s a mystery. But a lot of people swear by it. So maybe when the status quo response to some circumstance just isn’t working, try taking a shower and see if something remarkable doesn’t occur to you!
In an effort to introduce the concept of thinking outside the box, I have tried my best to explain the relevance and how it is being used in companies to deliver best-in-breed solutions. Any company that was, is and will be successful, if it spends some time in nurturing and supporting thinking out side the box.
The best part is that the concept can be introduced in any industry segment, any domain and in any department of an organisation, without any limitations.
At the end of the day, it is not only Porter's laws or new terms that are introduced that will drive the economies of the global world, but also the ability to create, cultivate and carry the concept of 'thinking outside the world.'
I think, it is fair enough to say that, Porter applied the 'thinking outside the box' concept to existing strategies and competitive forces to devise his visionary statements. How many of us could do that? Not many, I would say.
Jagriti Srivastava [B.Tech ]
Web Developer / Blog Master
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Sunday, 17 March 2013
Positive Thinking is the act of thinking good or affirmative thoughts. Many people engage in positive thinking to rid themselves of depressing, unhealthy, negative thoughts. Positive thinking is a way to use your mind to reverse the damaging effects of negative thinking.
Positive thinking is a discipline that trains the human mind to change a perceived reality by repeatedly making positive mental statements. A person practices positive thinking when they derive a positive sense of well being, optimism, belonging, meaning and/or purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves. Positive thinking is a process of choosing positive emotions from stimuli in the environment and applying them to perceptions and beliefs. The objective is to create an outlook that translates into a new or better chosen reality.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDES:
A positive mental attitude is the belief that one can increase achievement through optimistic thought processes. A positive attitude comes from observational learning in the environment and is partially achieved when a vision of good natured change in the mind is applied toward people, circumstances, events, or behaviors (Wikipedia). Since it is difficult to quantify (measure) the effects of a positive mental attitude, it can be considered a philosophy and a way to approach life.
UNDERSTANDING POSITIVE THINKING AND SELF TALK:
Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.
If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF POSITIVE THINKING:
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
The aspiration to obtain material wealth demands for a great degree of will power and self-discipline. People who want to gain wealth should try to eliminate all inhibitions that will prevent them from acquiring their desired prosperity.
For instance, if you are a life insurance agent in order for you to increase your sales you should remove all negative attitudes such as insecurities, shyness, laziness and others that hinder you from closing deals.
By developing positive thinking you will be able to gain the confidence that you need to approach even those high profile personalities. And of course, that is where you start making big money and eventually realizing the prosperous life that you dreamed of.
USE OF AFFIRMATIVE THINKING TO FACILITATE A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE:
The technique of writing and repeating affirmations has been said to institute a positive mental attitude resulting in measurable change. An affirmation is a positive, present day statement that assumes what one declares is real and present. The more an affirmation is practiced, the mind has a greater the level of acceptance of that thought. Positive thinking experts, such as Louise Hay, Michael Beckwith, James Arthur Ray, Catherine Ponder, Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, and John Randolph Price advocated the use of affirmations to both reprogram the brain by repetition and maintaining present moment centeredness. The desired result is to manifest new and positive circumstances.
Since an affirmation declares one’s state of mind and expectation, it acknowledges to the mind and body a present-day reality. An example of an affirmation is the following: “I am filled with wonder and I now manifest prosperity and abundance in every aspect of my life. I use the creative genius of the universe in all I do. I am successful, healthy, and live life well. This day I have the power to change myself.”
Affirmations are a spiritual idea, and non-quantitative. They are based upon “as within, so without, as above so below” which is an idea, or universal presented in many religious works, including the Bible. If thought attracts, or resonates, with like energies, than any individual practicing positive thinking can eventually see results externally in the form of a better job, more loving relationships, or even satisfying experiences
Positive thinking is basically employed to develop not only the attitude but also the mental capabilities of people. Positive thinking has the power to change and provide people with a purpose in life especially in their most depressing moments.
Positive thinking gives people the strength to go on and to become hopeful of the future. It helps people to see the bright side even when things are in their darkest. And this is exactly the goal of positive thinking, to develop a mental attitude that will help people cope with whatever situations that life may present them.
ACHIEVING SOCIAL GOALS BY MEANS OF POSITIVE THINKING:
Shyness or inferiority complex is one the reasons why people tend to be socially aloof. This is not a good attitude to develop since it prevents personality development plus it hinders all opportunities of a person to obtain future success. Aside from that, we need to socialize in order to enhance our experience and knowledge will help us later as we go along with our lives.
Positive thinking can help remove social barriers that are basically products of a negative conception of one’s personality. You see its not that people don’t like you but it’s more of your negative attitude towards others that makes them shun you.
Shyness to you may not seem offensive but to other people such behavior sends out negative impressions since you make them think that you don’t like them when in fact you are just plain timid.
By developing positive thinking you will be able to free yourself from all the negative inhibitions that you have develop for so long. However, you just can’t develop positive thinking overnight you have to repetitively practice self-affirmations until you finally gain the confidence that you need for a socially fulfilling life.
IDENTIFYING NEGATIVE THINKING:
Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:
You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure.
FOCUSING ON POSITIVE THINKING:
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
**Identify areas to change:
If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
** Check yourself:
Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
**Be open to humor:
Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
**Follow a healthy lifestyle:
Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
**Surround yourself with positive people:
Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
**Practice positive self-talk:
Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.
Here are some examples of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them.
Negative self-talk Positive thinking
I've never done it before. It's an opportunity to learn something new.
It's too complicated. I'll tackle it from a different angle.
I don't have the resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.
I'm too lazy to get this done. I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule but can re-examine some priorities.
There's no way it will work. I can try to make it work.
It's too radical a change. Let's take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me. I'll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I'm not going to get any better at this. I'll give it another try.
PRACTICING POSITIVE THINKING EVERYDAY:
If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. Plus, when you share your positive mood and positive experience, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost.
Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.
10 TIPS TO OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: POSITIVE THINKING MADE EASY
1. Meditate or do yoga.:
One of the first things I did was head to a yoga class. It took my focus away from my thoughts and brought my attention to my breath. Yoga is also very relaxing which helped ease my mind. Yoga helped me stay present to my experience so instead of jumping to what could happen, it brought me back to the now—the only moment, the most important moment.
I didn’t do much of this during the weekend so I literally had to bring myself in front of a mirror and force myself to smile. It really does help change your mood and relieve stress. I also felt lighter because it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
3. Surround yourself with positive people.:
I called a friend who I knew could give me constructive, yet loving feedback. When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking.
4. Change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive.:
For example, instead of thinking We are going to have a hard time adjusting to our living situation, replace that with We will face some challenges in our living situation, but we will come up with solutions that we will both be happy with.
5. Don’t play the victim. You create your life—take responsibility.:
The way I was thinking and acting, you would think I was stuck. Even if our living situation becomes unbearable, there is always a way out. I will always have the choice to make change happen, if need be.
6. Help someone.:
Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person. I decided to make a tray of food and donate it to the Salvation Army. It took my mind off of things and I felt better for helping someone else.
7. Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward.:
It’s easy to dwell on your mistakes. I felt terrible that I acted this way and that I wasted our weekend. The only thing I can do now is learn from my mistakes and move forward. I definitely don’t want to have a weekend like that again.
I don’t remember lyrics very well and it’s probably the reason that I don’t enjoy singing, but every time I do sing I always feel better . When we sing, we show our feelings and this provides an amazing stress relief.
9. List five things that you are grateful for right now.:
Being grateful helps appreciate what you already have. Here’s my list: My cats, health, a six-week trip to Asia, a new yoga class that I’ll be teaching, and for my mom’s biopsy coming out clean.
10. Read positive quotes.:
I like to place Post-It notes with positive quotes on my computer, fridge door and mirror as reminders to stay positive. Also, I’d like to share with you a quote by an unknown author that was shared in a meditation class that I attended:
Monday, 4 March 2013
Congress went home after spending a few weeks fighting with each other about the debt ceiling and then doing what we all knew they would do in the first place. What they did not do was their job.
They haven’t funded the FAA for months and months and left town without funding them at least until September when they return from vacation. This means that somewhere around 4,000 FAA safety inspectors and workers are without pay. Not without a job – oh no – The congress still expects them to do their job and has told the public that the inspectors would go right on inspecting and safety would not be compromised.
They expect the FAA inspectors to work for free and pay their own expenses. Let me say that again because the idiocy of that statement may not have sunk in: They expect the 4,000 highly trained federal air safety workers to continue to work without a paycheck and to put all their travel, motel and food expenses on their personal credit cards.
If it wasn’t so infuriating it would be funny. Congress, who would not consider working for a nanosecond without full pay, benefits (including free health care) and month long vacations expects middle class dedicated federal workers to just work for nothing.
Meanwhile, they have done nothing to fix the controller shortage or the fact that controllers are literally falling asleep at their positions from overwork.
Most members of congress spend a lot of their time doing two things. First, they ride on donated business jets from place to place. Second, they spend hours talking about fat cat rich companies and how terrible it is that they have business jets. All that congress can be counted on not to do is their jobs.
Fly a Seaplane — Right Now!
I have wanted to add a “Single Engine, Sea” to my license ever since I was a teenager and I am not a teenager anymore. The sad thing about the length of time I waited to get my sea plane training was that it was so close to me when I was a line boy that I could have ridden my bicycle there. Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven Florida http://brownsseaplane.com/ was less than twelve miles from the home I grew up in.
Age 56 came around and I finally did what I wanted to do and got my sea plane rating.
About Damn Time!
You should get your seaplane training and rating too. I recommend Browns, but go where you want. The training is extremely fun, will certainly make you a much better pilot and if I haven’t mentioned this before, it is FUN.
I’ll write much more about this later. For example, did you know that a cub with floats is an official Light Sport Airplane requiring no medical certificate of any kind to fly?
Remember to keep your rudders up for landing and I’ll see you at the lake soon.
Fly Them or Display Them?
A World War II era B-17 named “Liberty Belle” recently
crashed in a field in the Midwest as it was preparing to be shown at a flying
event in Indiana. Seven people were aboard and all escaped without injury just
prior to the aircraft being consumed in a post-crash fire.
It was totally destroyed. Since nobody produces new Boeing
B-17s and since there is a finite amount of them left in the world – and even a
smaller number of them actually flying – it was a huge loss for the aviation
I grew up worshiping war birds like the B-17 and was able to
work on them, hang out around them and even occasionally fly in them. Today I
still get to fly a Stearman and have bought a ticket every year when the EAA’s B-17
when it comes through town giving rides.
The experience of actually flying in a B-17 is something that
cannot be duplicated in a book, television show or movie. In flight, the B-17
is noisy, crowded, bumpy, and even a little smelly. It is a humbling experience
to ride in it, or any other kind of war bird, and marvel at what an impressive
thing it was in its day.
The experience makes you think about the people who operated
these airplanes in combat. The rides that flight crews took in the bombers and
other combat aircraft of World War II weren’t joy rides. They were horror
shows. Boys and young men flew these
thinly skinned heavily armed aircraft over land and oceans populated with
people brandishing very large guns who wanted to kill them.
The air was too thin to breathe. It was too cold in the
unheated cabins to survive for long if exposed and highly skilled fighter
pilots were shooting thousands of bullets at them that were the size of D-cell
The odds of getting home unscathed after twenty-five missions
were almost too small to consider. The chances of an entire crew surviving a
combat tour unhurt were nil. More than fifty thousand young men were killed in
Teenagers who the year before were concerned with prom dates
and football games were now destroying cities and facing razor-sharp flack
daily. Many watched their best friends bleed to death on the four hour ride
back to England from the target.
To honor and remember these young people of almost a century
ago we should keep as many war birds flying as long as we can and not sequester
them all to climate controlled rooms in museums.
We have to face the fact though that the day will arrive
when the aircraft left over from the World War II era will not be available to
fly and the precious few museum pieces we have left will have to be protected
like the priceless art.
General Aviation News columnist and contributor Jamie
Beckett spent over a year working on the restoration of the ill-fated “Liberty
Belle” and says that even though the time he spent working on the aircraft was
a “great and rare experience with happy memories” he also recognized that
“every flight in a rare restored war bird is a potential disaster.”
It is obvious that no one is suggesting that rules be
implemented that restrict the rights of vintage and historical aircraft owners
to fly their aircraft. The choice is clearly theirs and it will be based on
economics, emotion, and simple mathematics.
When is a piece of machinery too valuable, too historical or
just too damn irreplaceable to be used?
If you have a vintage war bird or any other historical
high-value aircraft, please think carefully about where and when you choose to
fly it. Yes, it is your property, but it also belongs to history. Recklessly
destroying it during a fly-in or an attempt to prove your manhood after you go
bald is no reason to kill an invaluable artifact.
At a certain point when the inventory of available aircraft
of a certain type is limited to a precious few, there will be no other choice
than to ground the remaining aircraft to preserve their physical presence for
Their remaining fly-bys at events should not be the occasion
for yahooing and slapping our thighs while we glory in the days when the
greatest generation whupped-up on our enemies. We should not make their
appearance an opportunity to set off explosions, play loud Toby Keith music
about 911, or pretend the Japanese are bombing us.
The young frightened and incredibly brave people who flew
these aircraft against all odds during a time in our history when our national
survival was at stake deserve more than a trumped-up feel-good carnival show.
They went through Hell in those aircraft and more than fifty
thousand of their buddies never made it home. We need to preserve their memory
along with the memory of their fantastic aircraft as long as we can and do it
in a responsible manner.
Check Your Heaty-Cooly-Unit!
A computer named Watson won at Jeopardy a few weeks ago against two pretty smart humans. My car talks to me in a very loud voice every so often without being asked to and my television thinks it is smarter than me – and it is most likely right.
The obvious fact that we don’t run things anymore is more and more evident. We probably haven’t run our own affairs for some time now and are just realizing it. Think back – when was the last time you understood how things worked? It has been some time for me since I understood anything.
Home heating and air conditioning units are a good example. Older home heating units involved putting something flammable into a furnace and burning it. The hot air from the fire would waft into your house and it would be heated. When I was a small boy, we still heated our home with coal and later in my childhood we burned oil. Air conditioning during my early childhood involved opening the windows when it got hot.
Our heating and air conditioning unit for our house is worked on by a person who has the acronym HVAC written on his truck. I have no idea what HVAC means but that doesn’t matter because I misunderstand the meaning of so many things. Our HVAC unit (which is the real name of it I guess) heats by smushing air and recirculating it while bombarding the smushed air with radioactive black matter particles, dog hair and that weird smell from outside.
In the winter, this process results in slightly hotter air and a four hundred bazillion dollar electric bill. In the summer, it puts out slightly cooler air for about the same money. My HVAC guy tells me that it is the same process for both hot and cold air – except backwards.
You might think that this completely describes the complexity of our “heaty-cooly thing” but you would be ridiculously in error. I can almost hear the HVAC guy quietly laughing a knowing laugh in the background as he figures up my bill.
Your heaty-cooly-unit (the HCU) has to ask the electric company if it is okay to run. Many houses now are hooked up to the electric company’s “we’ll give you electricity when it damn well suits us” program. This is supposed to save you at least one bazillion dollars a month in sparky-juice. At least that is what the old geezers in the TV commercials tell us.
Basically, it works like this: It is very hot outside so your heaty-cooly-unit decides to turn itself on and chill your house. It sends a signal to the electric company who returns with a message saying: “are you out of your electronic mind? It is hot and a lot of people want electricity – therefore, you can’t have any… we’ll give you some electricity later when it is cooler and you don’t really need it.”
It makes perfect sense to my HVAC guy who must get a kick-back from the electric company for selling those little control boxes.
You and I may think our HCU is the most complex technology in our house but we are so much in error it is laughable. The most complex and evil computer in our home is the one that runs our refrigerator’s ice machine. It waits until things are very quiet and you are walking by completely relaxed.
Then it drops a load of ice and scares the crap out of you.
A layover in Bangor Maine in the wintertime will dry you out faster than a fifty mile hike in the Sahara. Holiday Inn with six TV channels and a lobby bar that would make a committed alcoholic quit drinking because it depressed him too much to go inside. A wintertime boredom deal with dry skin, a bleeding nose and seven more hours before pick-up.
So, it was on to the coffee shop for this aging, and now desiccated captain. Pot of coffee in one of those golden plastic pitchers, two over easy and bacon with white toast and a quart of ketchup. This is the razor’s-edge life of a jet pilot.
The free USA Today I got off of the front desk before I turned the corner into coffee hell wasn’t worth what I paid for it; Two stories about the latest teenage singer/drug-snurfer, one story about why our country sucks and a big fat pie chart about who still likes fried food. Even given the obvious fact that there were no facts in this rag, it still gave me cover. No need to talk too much with the waitress or make light banter with other people going through their own coffee hell when I had this here piece of American journalism to stare at.
My layover clothing set me apart as a non-local here in Bangor. I was wearing a red sweatshirt, some jeans and tennis shoes. The locals there had their snow boots, plaid shirts and hats with earflaps. My thinning and graying hair stood straight up due to the extremely dry air and the fact that I had generated about six megawatts of power as I shuffled across the carpet past the junior college dropout who was running the front desk.
Coffee was poured and it looked like weak tea. Eggs arrived and after a quick glance I ordered tobasco sauce to make the eggs palatable.
GAMA and other Alphabet Groups Are Not the Answer…
I had a short email exchange with a big wig at one of the alphabet aviation groups the other day. This particular group has been holding meetings and doing studies for some time on how to “save general aviaton.” Their slant has been to make aviaton more palatable for the high income spender. In other words, they should buy airplanes instead of boats and vacation homes. I was pretty pumped up after soloing a teenage student of mine through the Kentucky Institute of Aerospace Education. It is described below. Go to http://www.kiae.org to get more info. Here is my rant to the guy from the alphabet group:
There are hundreds and maybe thousands of young people hungry to fly that are willing to work hard for it. I think this is the answer, but I don’t think GAMA or AOPA would go in for this sort of thing. All instruction is donated and all our aircraft are built by the kids. No sales for GAMA or even membership dues for AOPA or EAA – yet…
The kids in our program also work with NASA and various universities. Our program is the only one extant in the country. We are state-wide and currently have twelve high schools on board with many already building their own aircraft. By next fall, we will have twenty four schools in Kentucky in our fold.
These kids are the answer to GAMA’s AOPA’s and EAA’s question — not selling 400k airplanes to old lawyers. Here is my post on face book:
Congratulations to my student Jacob on his first solo today! He is the first out of our high school program to solo as well. Check out KIAE.org. (kentucky institute of aerospace education) I donate my time there to teach these great kids. All kids who do the work all four years graduate with enough training to possibly qualify them for an A&P license and a Private Pilot Certificate.
You Cessna and Cirrus and Pipers and GAMAs… want to promote aviation? Want it to have a future? This is how you do it.
Yeah, I know the industry and GAMA and the rest would not be interested in this. With an average of twenty students per school and twenty four schools we will have a minimum of 480 students in Kentucky next year alone so I’m not sure we are operating in a microcosm. We are just using a different model. The pro-bono work I’ve done with these students has given me referrals for enough full-price paying students to create more than enough revenue for me to live on if I wanted to.
We don’t exactly give away our instruction either. These kids work four full years in the hangar, building aircraft, learning welding, engine overhaul, etc and take a heavy classroom load before they are allowed to fly airplanes they themselves built “for free”. This is by no means a charity. Also, we are tied-in with various universities who are eager to get our students — and their tuition money — into their programs.
We have just looked at it backwards from you and GAMA. We see students as students — not profit centers. Once they become pilots at age 17 or 18 they will become customers for you guys for life. Also, as they get older, we hope they donate large sums of tax-deductible money to our organization to help out the next crop of students. Our model keeps us well-funded and growing while commercial flight schools chase the remaining fifty year old plus CPAs and people who are bored with golf.
CFIs at commercial schools don’t get treated as serfs because nobody respects them; they get paid so little because they work in a flawed system. My kids work for every hour they fly and I fly for free because I am paying back gentlemen who helped me almost four decades ago and made my airline career possible. Next year, with the funding in the pipeline, we plan to hire a director of flight ops (maybe me, but probably not) and hire instructors. By next year, we will have the money to pay our operations guy and pay our CFIs well above what the “industry” boys are paying. Our instructors (in all honesty, we will begin with one) will draw a salary, so their pay isn’t dependent on how many hours they can milk out of a student.
Think of it — our system could possibly be graduating over 2,000 brand-new licensed private pilot / A&P mechanics nation-wide a year. They will graduate with full academic credentials to attend any kind of college they want – not just aviation schools. All the KIAE work is extra and isn’t on the high school class list. Imagine all the lawyers, doctors, CPAs and the like who will first think of themselves as pilots because of their high school experience.
The student who soloed today is a great example. He just got his Eagle Scout last summer, will finish up his A&P by May, his Private Pilot rating by June and will attend North Dakota on a full ride next fall. He intends to be a Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot.
My student’s dad wants to and can afford to buy an airplane if he catches the flying bug. His son will no doubt own quite a few aircraft during his career — there is your payoff for GAMA and the boys. Everybody has been talking about the problem, (and talking and talking) but I personally think we are finally doing something about it by getting kids back across that locked airport fence and onto the ramp where they belong.
OK, We Are Back on the Air!
Up In The Air Junior Birdmen…
Today is the kind of day that Icarus looked up at the skies and said: “What the Hell… I think I’ll try on those wax wings and give this a shot.”
Skies that are literally Robin’s egg blue. The kind of clouds that almost beg you to lie on your back and try to figure out what shape they are morphing into. First a Snoopy, then a dragon, then a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. Wind that may or may not be actually whisping quietly and moving the ice storm damaged branches a little “to” and then a little “fro”.
My office manager and Corgi companion Chloe whined for more ball playing today then any other day in the year 2010. It was her dragging me outside for a quick throw (or three hundred) of the tennis ball that made me look up to an-out-like-a-lamb March flying environment. You would think that Chloe would emulate the dog and butterfly from the Heart song of yore and scamper after big winged former caterpillars. There were a few around today — good luck to them when the temps drop again tonight. A tennis ball dog would never chase a butterfly unless that is the brand name of a new kind of tennis ball.
Federal Aviation Regulations can suck it on a day like today. Afternoons like this one weren’t made for petty bureaucrats to regulate and squish the fun out of. No check rides should be given on a day like this. As a matter of fact, the FAA should have just gone home.
Shame on all the airline passengers enjoying the skies over my house today who had their window shades pulled down so they could play a computer game. They missed what was probably the best flying day of the decade.
I missed it too. Shackeled by writing deadlines, economically weakened by sucking at my last job and facing a severe shortage of flyable airplanes today I stayed on the ground like a gravity-burdened Water Buffalo who is constatly beset by ravening packs of tennis ball hungry Corgis.
Sun Induced Delerium
Randomness, Flying Dinosaurs, and Talking Trees
The sun has finally come out and it has fired up my winter-befuddled brain with new and exciting thoughts. That’s right – I’m going to share a few with you.
For example, Tiger Woods is returning to golf. This makes total sense because that is how he makes his living and the endorsements aren’t exactly rolling in right now. I don’t think we can blame him a bit for wanting to get back to something familiar.
Not that I am condoning or even remotely understanding all the stuff (and people) he has done. If you don’t like him now please be sure not to watch him play golf or buy any of the products he still endorses. That is the best and only way to shut down a low-life. Of course, Michael Vick, a man who tortured dogs, is back playing in the NFL so I think I know what direction the public is going to take on the Woods saga.
I foresee an entire new section in book stores though. They ought to have a “Bimbo Section” at Barnes & Noble and other big stores for all the books that his various and sundry mistresses are having other people write for them.
The Bimbo Section would not be restricted to Tiger’s girlfriends. We could include many others – from Bill Clinton’s to that guy that just had to “hike the Appalachian Trail.” Just imagine all the bimbo books that are out there right now awaiting movie deal offers.
Other thoughts jump into my now warming head as the sun makes its trail against the sky. Another example of these solar induced ideas is if everyone agreed NOT to mow their lawns this year then we could all skip a spring and summer doing that hot and onerous chore. Tall grass does not look bad until somebody goes out and mows their grass. Then our tall grass looks terrible. If we all agree to not mow anything this year think of all the spare time, gasoline and heat stroke cases we could save.
Imagine the admiration we would get from the other countries on our globe as they arrive for the World Equestrian Games. We would be the “greenest” area in the United States. Ponder all the ozone we will save by not running our mower engines. Think about the children (who have to mow all summer). Won’t SOMEBODY think about the children?
Continuing my anti-mowing stance, I’d like to mention that we went out and saw the movie Avatar last week. Not one of those tall, green people so much as wacked a weed or trimmed a hedge and they all got to fly dinosaurs. Perhaps if we skip mowing all the grass around here some flying dinosaurs would start living in our area and we could figure out how to ride them.
The people who lived in other areas would go nuts with envy as you calmly flew your flying attack dinosaur into the employee parking lot before work.
In the movie Avatar all the trees talked to each other and got together to defeat those evil, money-making humans. I won’t comment on the Gaia principle here, but I wish to goodness that our trees would talk to each other and get their acts together. If our trees aren’t randomly falling down over power lines, they are shedding needles and leaves at just the wrong time and in all the wrong places.
So – there you have some random, sun-induced thoughts from your trusty columnist:
· Bimbo Section
· Don’t mow your lawn
· Flying your dinosaur to work
· Talkative trees.
Sun is Coming as well as Fun
We will survive this winter. I am sure of it.
The skies can’t stay as misty and full of cold moisture as they are now. It seems impossible that they have remained this teary-eyed for the past month or two but the sky certainly hasn’t been a pilot’s friend lately.
Days like this come along right about this time every year. This “dead zone” of flying exists in February and March right along with the lack of televised football, decent first run movies and outdoor tennis. Grills on decks are silent and covered in plastic this time of year. Our barn cats don’t seem frisky or friendly. They are hunkered-down and exist in a soggy misery in between feedings. Even the dog who is usually a frenzy of play is sitting this day out.
I remember warm flights. I can recall going to the T-hangar and feeling the warmth of the airplane’s skin. No oil dipstick heater was plugged in during those heady, warm days and no snow had to be cleared from the front of the door to get access to the plane. There are two fairly comfortable couches in the T-hangar but they aren’t very welcoming when the temps are in the thirties and there isn’t enough ambient light to read your digital watch without pushing the illumination button on the side.
Somewhere, bees are sleeping. Somewhere there are warm and small puffy clouds instead of this gray and wet sheet that starts in Los Angeles and ends over Bermuda. Birds sing somewhere and not because they are trying to stay warm — they are happy and are basking in the Sun.
We pilots and lovers of VFR flight must pull our rain and winter coats over our heads and wait this one out. The sun is still up there somewhere and I am sure that all the global warming that has been touted by so many is on its way. It won’t be long until we are sweltering on the fire ant infested grass of Lakeland. We will suffer from painful sunburns, stomach aches from too many trips to the junk food stands at the fly-in and severe headaches from cranking our necks skyward to stare into the Sun and attempt to see a Pitts do a roll.
I am ready and am even know sitting in my drafty writers garret wearing shorts and my Hawaiian shirt with the airplane print pattern.
In The Pilot’s Lounge
A Sample Chapter from the CEO of the Cockpit
The pilot lounge in Newark is larger than most but otherwise is the same as all of them.
Lazy Boy recliner chairs are scattered about the brick-walled windowless room like the
remnants of a close-out furniture sale. Some of them are broken down by hundreds of
desperate toss-turned nights spent by harried (and cheap) commuters. The stale smell of
little aircraft cabin blankets that have been used for napping too long without benefit of a
washing machine added to the aroma of stale coffee and twelve-hour deodorant that has
endured a fifteen-hour duty day.
Around the lounge are the detritus of the pilot life — marked-up bid sheets, company
newsletters and the usual meaningless, self-serving memoranda that only a management
hierarchy made up of pilots with night-school MBAs could produce: “Joe Jones promoted
to Supervisor of Line Operations Management Oversight Committee.”
A dozen trees were senselessly slaughtered and boiled down to print a memo that 10,000
uncaring line pilots would toss into the trash without a second look. Because of Joe’s
ascension to middle management, there are now families of homeless squirrels roaming
the planet. The horror.
The other constant in any pilot lounge are the computer terminals. Lined up and glowing,
they are the Oracle you consult to predict your future as a pilot. Did I get that trip I put in
for? Am I going to go to 767 school next month? Why wasn’t I paid assignment pay for
that late-night call-out last week? Also on the company computer is a means for
employees to send each other email and of course, electronic copies of the Joe Jones
A Bird Strike Yields Time to Think
I am sitting in the scrunchy “faux leather” of my lounge chair and will likely continue to do
so for quite awhile. My “Long Beach Death Tube” (MD-88) unwisely ate a large sea gull
during our approach and what is left of that noble bird is still ensconced amidst the inlet
guide vanes of the number-one engine. Our maintenance professionals are gathered
around it on work stands trying with all their might to deny the fact that an engine change
is in their future. Once they reach that decision, my copilot Karl and I will climb aboard a
727 and deadhead home. Until then we are in “reroute limbo.”
The time will be well-spent today. I am thumbing through this year’s edition of my tax
returns. My CPA kindly faxed me a copy before I climbed into my run-out Dodge van and
went to work the other day. This is my first chance to review our version of the truth —
and my last chance to up the ante on any of my so-called deductions. Karl is looking over
my shoulder, smacking his lips as he eats his crew meal granola bar.
“Are you really deducting the cost of a new suitcase?”
Well, Karl, you and I do travel for a living. What does the government expect us to do,
pack our meager belongings in K-mart bags? Besides, with the bankruptcy of K-Mart, the
quality of their bags is in question anyway.
“Yes, but don’t you think that $3,500 is a little steep for a bag on wheels?”
The cost of everything is constantly going up. Last year, for example, my suitcase
deduction was only $2,200. Plus, this year’s suitcase has all the “evildoer thwarting
technology” bells and whistles. For example, if an evildoer tries to break into my suitcase
while I’m napping in this lounge chair, a transmitter in my bag instantly uplinks to a
satellite in geosynchronous orbit. The signal it sends is quickly forwarded to a security
company based in Bridgeton, N.J. They, in turn, will call out local law enforcement and a
swat team will descend on my Dad’s house in Florida because they think he has fallen in
the tub and can’t get up.
My rambling finally got the desired result and Karl went away muttering under his breath.
Even Airline Captains Have To Pay Taxes
It looks like my contribution to society this year will come to a little over forty grand —
depressing if you think you are paying for Congressional pork barrel projects. I always
prefer to be inspired and think that I am funding a Marine Corps rifleman who is prodding
a terrorist with the business end of a bayonet while I sit here in my lounge chair.
There is nothing that promotes world peace better than an armed Marine and I am all
about world peace.
Someone kicked my chair from the side and I am shocked to see my friend Jerry standing
there in a pilot uniform. The reason I am shocked is because, in over 20 years of being in
this company and two decades of being Jerry’s friend and classmate, I’ve never seen him
in a pilot uniform. He is usually in golf clothes and is non-revving to Maui or someplace to
chase the little white ball and to take large sums of money from fat men with bad hair
implants wearing gaily-colored pants with stretch waistbands.
“Dude…,” Jerry began.
Dude your own self, I reply.
“I see you are going over your opening offer to the government,” he continued.
I look on it as my final offer, Jerry. I don’t want to live in a country where the government
would question the integrity of an airline captain. Look here at the financial hardships I’ve
had to undergo.
The CEO’s Thinking on Tax Deductions
Jerry pulled up another recliner and looked on as I revealed my tax worksheet.
Last year was bad for airline pilots in general and this airline pilot specifically. First, our
careers came to a screeching halt in September — that is if we still have a career.
Thousands of us are out of work due to terrorist-induced furloughs. Next, like many of my
fellow airline pilots, I made a lot of really stupid investments. They all lost money.
A retarded monkey with a dartboard could do a better job of choosing investments than I
did, but, since there were no mentally challenged simians around, I had to make all the
decisions myself, leading to disaster.
My housekeeper had to quit due to some sort of immigration paperwork
misunderstanding. Yatisha couldn’t produce a green card and had to be sent back to her
home country. Now where am I going to find another person that is willing to work for a
dollar and a half an hour?
Jerry nodded in sympathy.
“You think you had setbacks?” he said. “Last year, the IRS disallowed my golf cart rental
fees and wouldn’t let me deduct the cost of country club bar tabs. How the heck am I
supposed to get ahead in the golf business if I can’t buy a round of drinks?”
I saw Jerry’s point. A government interested in data about my children’s schooling, how
many people from foreign lands I’m sponsoring by allowing to them to live on my property
(and mow it) and how many dollars I sent to the Air Line Pilot’s Association Political Action
Committee should have enough class to allow Jerry to write off a few thousand dollars’
worth of post-round beers.
The Business Needs of an Airline Captain
We looked over the list of my pilot-related deductions for this year’s return. They included:
• The expense I have gone to buy a decent handgun. Large groups of people in this
country expect me to be packing heat the next time a hijacker knocks on my cockpit door
and what Johnny Carson once said is true: “You can get more with a kind word and a gun
than you can with a kind word alone.” Even though the government has said they will
never allow me to be armed in the cockpit, I think a few thousand dollars’ write off for me
to buy a heater is appropriate.
• The cost of my paint ball combat game outings is clearly in holding with the spirit of
self-defense training. Ditto for my health club membership fees. How do they expect me to
defend freedom without proper weight training and a tan?
• Next, since I am in the aviation business and am expected to keep the greasy side
down and the shiny side up, I think the $6,000 I spent on the P-51 check-out is totally
deductible. Also, I plan on including the expense I incurred buying first-class tickets on
another airline for our vacation in Europe. How does the IRS think I can improve our
service if I don’t sample the service of other airlines?
• Training to scuba dive might help me on my next visit to the Bahamas, but I think
the expense ought to be at least partially borne by the federal government. This is only
fair. Every year at recurrent we have to undergo training in ditching techniques along with
instruction on how to wear and use life vests lest we find ourselves in the drink.
Obviously, any ditching training for us North Atlantic flyers is pointless — if you get wet
out there you’d die of hypothermia before you could say: “pass the flare gun.” It makes
about as much sense for me to train to scuba dive for this scenario as it does to put on a
life vest that will only serve to help them recover bodies.
• It is obvious that any money spent by an airline pilot to learn a foreign language
ought to be deductible. After all, we travel the world and it is nice (especially in hostage
situations) to speak the local lingo. This year I am taking it one step further and am
deducting all expenses pertaining to the French cooking lessons I’ve taken in New
• The company has been very concerned lately about our layover security. Rightly so
in view of recent events. Because of this I no longer head out to cheap bars in bad areas
of town when I or my crew are laying over. We only go to classy clubs and first-rate
restaurants. This leads to a great increase in the amount of money we spend on food
and drink. I think it is only fair that the government share this burden with us working-
• Other layover expenses should be a total write-off for airline crew members and I
intend to a least try to do so this year. For example, on a recent Phoenix layover my crew
and I decided to clear our heads by renting Harleys for the day and ripping up the desert.
You might think the hundred dollars I spent at “Rent a Hog” was frivolous, but you weren’t
in the back of the jet later that night as I tried to shoot a CAT III into Detroit. Call the
money a mental fitness fee. I call it a legal deduction of income.
Why Can’t The IRS Understand?
Jerry had, for some reason, fallen asleep in his recliner while I was going over my
deductions with him. I prodded him awake with my pencil and asked him how many audits
he had endured over the years.
“Four, counting last year,” he said.
There you go… not only are airline pilots expected to support armed Marines with our
taxes, we are we expected to (yet frowned upon for doing so) support people from third-
world nations who only want to live in our country and operate our lawn equipment. We
are ridiculed and accused of tax fraud when all we are trying to do is fly the population of
this great land of ours to their destinations.
Lastly, we also are expected to financially support thousands of CPAs and tax attorneys!
You’d think all the divorce lawyers we support would be enough, but noooo…..
As I finished my diatribe, I noticed that a mechanic had entered the room and was headed
my way. We were all surprised to learn from him that the engine did in fact need to be
replaced and shipped to our corporate headquarters via flatbed truck for “de-birding.”
We were released to deadhead home and would kill no more waterfowl that day.
I said goodbye to my friend Jerry, noted a $200 tax consulting fee to Jerry & Jerry CPA in
my expense log and went to get my seat in the back of the homeward-bound antique
It’s another normal day in the life of an airline aviator. Four legs, three gate holds, two
crew meals in boxes, and one layover in Little Rock awaiting us at the end of our day.
Ten Ways to Make Money as a CFI
A lot of flight instructors complain that they can’t make a living flying around with students. They are more wrong than Rosie O’Donnell at a Republican caucus. I have been a flight instructor since 1974 and I have been alive at least most of that time. The real complaint, I think, is that you can’t make much of a living flight instructing.
Part of what I do now for “a living” is to teach flight instructors a little bit about flight instructing. The money question almost never comes up, but I think flight instructor income is like erectile dysfunction and painful hemorrhoids — it is better to do something about both than just talk about them. Using the same logic, I have decided to list ten good ways to make more money as a CFI. Here they are:
1. Marry somebody rich.
2. Become a professor at a flying college. You may not get tenure, but you will probably at least get insurance.
3. Get your money from your student upfront. It is harder for them to ask for it back than to not give it to you in the first place.
4. Charge at least as much for your time as the local lawn mower shop charges for working on your weed-whacker. Mine bills his time at $65. How much are you charging for your time?
5. Barter. Not only is a used car better than cash, it is probably tax-free. Need dental work? A new patio grill? You get the picture…
6. Combine students. If you can ground-brief them three at a time you just tripled your hourly rate.
7. Get a real job and fly for free. Work for a boss who wants to learn to fly. Job security and you’ll need “extra” time for his or her flight instruction.
9. You could become an aviation writer like I did and supplement your income that way. Unless your last name is Machado, I don’t see a lucrative future in that field, but you never know. Richard Bach was a flight instructor until he met that seagull…
10. Promote yourself. I know it is hard, but would a little self-promotion hurt? How many people do you know who don’t know you are a CFI? How many want to learn?
Another world for pilots
The magic of the craft has opened for me a world in which I shall confront, within two hours, the black dragons and the crowned crests of a coma of blue lightnings, and when night has fallen I, delivered, shall read my course in the stars.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, ‘Wind, Sand, and Stars,’ 1939.
I have seen things when flying that ground-bound people can’t imagine. The inside of purple storm clouds, the St. Elmo’s fire against the windshield of my 727 as it bounced through heavy precip. Sunrises over the Atlantic, Pacific, and even Lake Michigan.
How many people get to begin their day in Kentucky and after flying themselves to Europe lay their head on a pillow in Paris and get paid for it? How often did I fly over sleeping cities in the pre-dawn, bemoaning my fate to be awake yet not envying for a single second the people below who faced another day of boringly predictable days?
Today I still court and play with clouds that others see as sun blockers and annoyances. Snow on the ground evokes thoughts in my head of braking action reports and de-icing fluid types. Pilots see the world in a totally different way than ground-bound people. We notice clouds and automatically and without thought catagorize them according to the smoothness or roughness we would encounter when flying through them.
Student pilots learning about aviation are privy to this new world from the first time they try to taxi with their feet. They fly the shallows of the pond like guppies but they are still part of the larger aviation lake.
Airline passengers pull down their shades in order to see their airborne TV’s. We open the shades wide to see the ground and the sky. To them airplanes are a fancy kind of train or car. To we pilots, an airplane, even an airliner, is a friend and the revealer of magic and freedom.
Pratiksha Mittal [B.Tech ]
Web Developer / Blog Master
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