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Not Just for Pilots: Why it is Critical to be Deliberate in Life

One of my favorite aspects of flying helicopters is the precision and concentration it requires.

During my preflight of the aircraft, I look closely for anything that might be out of the norm. Leaking fluids? Missing safety wires? Loose bolts?

In flight I scan the instruments. I make constant small corrections to hold my airspeed, altitude and course. I’m flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which basically means I look out the window to “see and avoid” other traffic and obstacles. If I were flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), I’d be assigned a particular altitude. Even though I’m flying VFR, this doesn’t mean I’m wandering all over the sky. I challenge myself to hold an altitude within fifty feet.

On other flights I challenge myself to make my changes in altitude as imperceptible as possible. This makes a more comfortable ride for the patient and crew. I also take pride in landing with finesse. Last week one landing was exceptionally gentle. One of my crew said, “That rocked.” Yep, it did.

I don’t flip a switch or change a radio frequency without having my exact purpose in mind. There isn’t any channel surfing when flying. If the medical situation is particularly critical, I just concentrate on keeping things simple and managing my own emotionsI’m very deliberate when I fly.

What I’ve noticed is that I haven’t always been so deliberate about my life.

Acting as the Conductor for the Orchestra of your Life

A conductor’s job is to blend all the elements of the orchestra into a cohesive whole. This is a good analogy for life.

Photo Credit: Flikr

Take a moment to look at your life from the perspective of a conductor. Is it time to slow down the tempo? Is work overpowering your free time? Have you disregarded a section entirely? Is it time to let an area shine with a solo? Do you need a little more cowbell? (Okay, so most orchestras don’t have a cowbell, but you get the idea.)

Quiet overpowering sections with a soothing gesture. Call up those that you want to enhance. Be deliberate.


I thought of a few things to enhance and diminish in my own life:

Areas to enhance:

  • Being grateful
  • Developing connections and inspiring others
  • Appreciating the moment

Areas to diminish:

  • Hanging on to things that don’t serve me (For example last week I was offended by a comment that wasn’t intended to hurt my feelings. I knew it wasn’t meant to sting and yet I had a hard time letting it go even though I didn’t want hold onto it anymore).

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do you want to enhance?
  2. What would you like to diminish?
  3. What areas need a tune up?
  4. Which sections of you life need more practice?
  5. What areas need a more challenging piece of music to develop their skills?
  6. What section needs to go back to basics and get the fundamentals?

What would your life look like if you were more deliberate? What would you enhance? What would you diminish? Share in the comments.

Inspiration for this post was from Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project. He interviews innovative and creative individuals making a difference in the world. This episode highlighted Melissa and AJ Leon as they share the deliberate life they’ve created for themselves. AJ and Melissa are on an around the world trip. They’ve promised to contact me when they get to Alaska. I’m looking forward to having them over for dinner and great conversation. Inspiring people inspire. It’s contagious.

Can’t see the video? Click Here: Good Life Project: Melissa and AJ Leon

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Rob Leonardo October 7, 2012, 4:09 am

    On the light side, I have been forgetting a lot of things! It’s just an indication that I may not be with myself when I go about my daily routines.

    Life would probably be less fearful if I am more deliberate about doing what I ought to do that sometimes I easily slip away for some excuse. But I would not want to be too immersed in what could have been. I always remind myself when I fall into this. Action indeed speaks louder. Aaargh.

    • Lorena October 7, 2012, 11:12 pm

      Rob- I hear you. When I feel the way you do my mantra is “progress, not perfection.” It seems to help.

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