The Friendly Skies

The Friendly Skies

In my travels I have had lots of opportunities to fly and to observe both my fellow passengers and a variety of flight crews. 

We may be in the same plane, under the same cramped and uncomfortable conditions, but on every trip I've observed a wide variation in attitudes in both passengers and crew.  I noticed when the flight attendants interacted with the passengers with apparent enjoyment and enthusiasm it was contagious; the passengers became more relaxed and friendly and the atmosphere in the plane changed. We were still uncomfortable and a little nervous, but some of the fretfulness disappeared. 

This phenomenon is not limited to the flight crew. While boarding, those passengers squeezing into their seats who were met with a friendly greeting tended to respond in kind and become more relaxed as they  settled in for the long flight, while the people who were made to feel like intruders in their assigned seats sort of shrunk into themselves and seemed more ill-at-ease.

This is no new discovery on my part. We have all seen one person’s mood infect an entire group. But it did serve to remind me of how important my attitude can be, not only to my own experiences, but for those around me.

We each have tremendous power to impact others, for either good or ill, and with power comes responsibility. Even when undergoing difficulties, we have a choice. For instance, if we are facing an invasive medical procedure, we can moan about our misfortune and make everyone around us miserable, or we can be grateful for modern medicine's capacity to screen our bodies to protect us from potential harm.  If we concentrate on gratitude, we can show a friendly face to the medical staff who will be caring for us and give them a more pleasant experience, as well.

Our current culture has elevated victimhood and protest, while downplaying generosity and grace. How much happier we can be if we think about the responsibility we have to influence those around us and choose gratitude over resentment.

Published by J.B.Hawker

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