Finding your Element

I was having trouble thinking the other day.  Worries were piling up and also things were just not connecting.  It seemed like I couldn’t do the simplest things the first time.  My dear spouse gave me a modern parable that I wanted to pass along because I found a lot of truth in it.

She said, “how well does a Corsair or a P-51 Mustang run on the ground?”

Thinking about it, I recalled when I used to live next to a flight museum.  Those particular airplanes coughed and sputtered on the ground, but once they were airborne and operating at full power, their engines smoothed to a powerful roar.  I said “They run like crap.”

She said, “exactly.”  The implication being that my brain was like that, and it ran best when operating closer to full capacity.

I think that’s true for many of us.  We might have trouble in an environment we aren’t suited to, or thinking at too low a level, we might have trouble.  But when we find what element we are best in, we might find that we are fare more intelligent and capable than we thought!  How many people do we know who are amazing with their hands but useless with words?  Or who couldn’t tell a nut from a bolt but can write words that make your soul sing?  Or clean a place till it sparkles, but can’t play chess?

Moreover, the speed at which you do a thing can have a huge impact.  Some people are best when they are working fast and yet lose momentum if they try to slow down.  Some people keep making mistakes if they don’t take their time.  Like the proper operation of a vehicle, finding your “best RPM range” can be critical to your success at what you do.

Don’t just take another person’s word for it, either.  Find your own best pace.

If we all find that thing we are best at, and the rate at which we work well, those are the keys to realizing our full value as human beings.


Rekindle your Passions


Sometimes, when a person is being dragged down by nearly every aspect of life, they have to stop and really think about what they love.  At that moment, they have the opportunity to reconnect with the passions that used to drive them.  Not long ago, I found myself giving up on and turning away from nearly everything I ever loved, and nearly forgetting HOW to love at all.  Sure, I could like things, but it was always transitory and a little hollow. There was no incentive to try or do anything because the reward for success was so small.

One of the things I used to love, and am learning to love again, was flying.  I did quite a bit of it, but then my fear and social anxiety raised their ugly heads.   I wasn’t successful in getting my license, and later financial troubles took me away from flying altogether. This hurt a LOT.  Eventually I got tired of it hurting and started caring about it less.  When we give in to fear and pain as I did, we die inside.  Sure enough, I started caring less about other things too, like art. Art is the one thing I’ve loved since babyhood.  Then various disasters struck and I started running from my fear and pain there too… it was a decline that ate away at my joy.   Only now, coming out on the other side of it, can I see just how much.

I once started a flight diary. I lovingly described every detail of my aviation experience. I stopped when I quit flying. The question now remains, how do I want my story to end? In defeat, or victory?  A famous aviatrix once believed that success lay mostly in tenacity, in not giving up. I was very good at giving up. How about giving that up?  When I started this process, I wondered  “do I have what it takes to say ‘from where the sun now stands, I will give up no more, forever?’   I wasn’t sure if I did or not.

I started rereading some of my old favorite authors, did art about flight again, read AirNav to get a look at what’s in my area. I felt tension build inside me, fear mixed with happiness.  It was rocky and I still don’t have it down perfectly.  I have setbacks.  Still, overall, I felt more passion and joy reenter my life.  In essence, I re-found myself.

You can do this too.  Is there something you’ve given up because of fear or loss of hope?  You can have it back again.  Let’s feed the joy and let it outshine the fear.