While having dinner with a group of managers one evening before a workshop, one of them asked me the question, “Mark, what do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of your work?” After a little reflection, I replied, “My greatest challenge, I imagine, is the same one as what cabin crew experience on any aircraft.”
Looking at me rather puzzled yet with all ears attentively listening around the table, he then asked “What do you mean? I don’t understand.” “Okay, let me explain” I replied.
“When you board any aircraft, just before take-off members of the cabin crew position themselves in the aisle of the plane to explain and demonstrate the safety procedures in case of any emergency. The one cabin crew member on the intercom system requests that all passengers pay attention even though they may be a frequent flyer.
Now as I’m sure you would agree the information being given to every passenger is of high importance (it could potentially save their life and prevent premature death) should the aircraft encounter any unforeseen problems. Yet, how many passengers pay attention to the instructions as they are being demonstrated. In most cases – none.
Next time you board a plane and either the inflight audio system or cabin crew are demonstrating the safety procedures look around at all the other passengers aboard. Some are already trying to sleep because of severe sleep debt, others are reading the newspaper or the on-board magazine, others are talking, and then you have those that are sending emails or filtering through social media on their smartphone – I wonder who really is being smart!
This is typical of human nature in modern day society. Here we have caring cabin crew members giving potentially life-saving instructions and no one pays a blind bit of notice! And here is the most interesting part. How many of those passengers, especially those frequent flyers who believe they don’t need to listen or watch the safety procedures because they “know” them already, would really know what to do – which emergency exit to go to, how and when to inflate their life jacket (that’s if they knew where to find it!), how to prepare their children, etc. – if the aircraft did encounter a problem and emergency measures were necessary?
Every day I’m confronted with the same challenge. I help to educate, instruct, and encourage people, especially in modern day business, on how they can develop an integrated character, take control of their energy-depleted bodies, emotionless lives, and avoid premature death yet they don’t pay a blind bit of notice!
These people are just too “busy” playing with their digital “toys,” trying to make more money, close another deal, climb the career ladder, or acquire higher positional status and material rewards.
There are two forms of pain: discipline and regret. Have the discipline today, and you can avoid the regret tomorrow or even may be for a lifetime!
While it’s true the risk of any aircraft encountering technical problems and crashing is minuscule, many people have brainwashed themselves into believing that their risk of contracting heart disease, diabetes or cancer is also minuscule. Wrong! One out of two people in America will die of heart disease – one in three of cancer. And most industrialized countries have similar figures. The World Health Organization (WHO) statistics for 2009 conclude that 85% of all cancers are caused by poor lifestyle choices and only 15% by a genetic predisposition.
After some moments of silence, all the managers sitting around the table smiled. Yet I sensed by the look on their faces that many of them were guilty of not making time for their personal wellbeing and managing themselves from the inside out and would listen very attentively to what I had to say during the workshop the following day – and to the cabin crew the next time they boarded an aircraft!
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Serve others. And do what is right, not what is easy!