Friday, October 2, 2015

Slice of Life #8 — Of Delayed Flights and Choices We Make

It was one of those days, many years ago, when everything went wrong. I was to attend a meeting in one city, come back, and then leave for an overseas trip that night. The meeting went off well, and it ended on time. The flight back was at 5.30 PM. The road to the airport was devoid of traffic and things were going on plan. I reached the airport only to learn that that the flight was delayed to 7.30 PM. That would mean a touch and go for me. I decided to check if there were other flights.

There was one at 6.45 PM, by a reliable carrier that was usually on time. I had a choice of getting on to this one and cancel my original flight which would leave only by 7.30 PM. I was caught on the horns of a dilemma. Should I now change to a new carrier, or should I stick to the original? I checked with the attendant and she told me that even though the flight was delayed it would start at 7.30.

How was I to know if my delayed flight would take off even at 7.30? And there was an option to take another flight. Times like these you have to make a hard choice. I decided that I would stick to my decision. I would leave by the 7.30 flight. No change. My wife used to say that it pays to quieten down, not get distracted and focus. The flight took off on time and I made the International connection. By the way, the reliable carrier’s flight was delayed by an hour! I had learnt a lesson.

It is easy to waver in times of stress and be swayed by choices. And staying the course is a choice. Years ago, I made such a choice. It was an opportunity to move to a new function and job. I decided to stick with the same firm and the function. At that time I did not know if that was a good choice or not, and I don’t know that even today. I do know that choices will keep coming up. And each time it is another test, not of choices but of the mind and what happens thereafter.

The choices we make take us on a journey. Instead of looking at the destination and comparing it with others, enjoying the journey is a great way of putting that choice to good use. So, it is not the choice that makes the difference, it is what we do about what choices we make. We really don’t ‘arrive,’ we keep enjoying the journey, and when we do, we truly arrive!