Beliefnet
Because This Is Your Life

This wasn’t one of those near death experiences that you often hear about.

This was a certain death experience about to happen.

And it took place one day while I was flying an airplane.

Back in late 1990/early 1991 I started taking flying lessons. At first it seemed a bit daunting but after a few lessons I started to get the hang of it.

What made it seem less stressful is that of course I would typically go up with a flight instructor and then practice certain maneuvers.

And then one day my flight instructor decided I was ready to fly solo. So he gets out of the little airplane and much to my surprise says, “you’re ready.” He was right because I had no problem soloing my first time.

It was pretty cool because I got to fly solo over the Boca Raton, Florida coastline (I was living in Florida at the time).

A few weeks after this I found myself practicing flight maneuvers over the beginning part of the Everglades forest. This one particular maneuver I was to do was a stall. And just knowing what it was always made me feel a bit uneasy about doing them.

What you do in a stall is you pull back on the flight yoke (the steering wheel of the plane) until the plane stalls. The idea is to have the plane stall and then come out of it. It’s a required maneuver that is used to simulate emergency situations.

So I went into doing this stall except I didn’t do it quite right and went into a spin. In other words I found myself in a position where the plane was pointing downward and sure to crash unless I could pull out of it.

The only problem was I didn’t know how to. And so there I was over the Everglades forest within literally a minute or two of crashing.

Needless to say I was watching my life pass before my eyes.

Now I’m sure most of you never found yourself at the control of an airplane that was spinning, nor experience the type of fear that comes along with it…

Just like you may not be aware that you could very well have a secret fear of life passing you by.

The question is…

“Do you have a secret fear of life passing you by”

…And if so, what is it and how can you overcome it?

1. Spinning in to control- Obviously there are different levels of fear and we’ve all experienced them to some degree. However this was one of those “extreme” types of fear.

Everything was happening fast. I could literally hear the sound of my heartbeat thrashing in my ears, along with the dizziness caused from a spinning airplane. It was like being on one of those crazy roller coasters that twist and turn upside down…except this was no roller coaster.

And it was in those 15-20 seconds that I had what seemed like 15-20 years of thoughts going through my mind…

With the biggest fear of all knowing that I still had much left to do and accomplish in my life…

Because after all I didn’t want it to end like this.

While this was all going on I still remember looking over to my right and seeing my flight instructor sitting with his arms folded like nothing was going on. It was as though he was sitting there drinking a cup of coffee and having a friendly conversation with someone…

And then just like that, within about 10 seconds he pulled the airplane out of the spin. We were flying normal again and to him it was routine and over with.

One thing that was certainly learned through this is that every decision you make counts. Some decisions may not seem that way at first because there is a lag time involved. In other words the ripple effect and what you see shows up later.

Then you have those split second decisions you make that you see the results immediately taking place right before your eyes.

In either case it’s very wise to be aware of every decision you make and know that there’s equal amounts of positives and negatives that occur as a result.

And by you knowing this and applying it in your life, any fear you have—especially any secret fears—are reduced.

And just like how my flight instructor brought that spinning airplane back in to control, the same is true with you and your life…because this is how you’re able to go from spinning out of control to spinning your life back in to control.

2. Red alert- After my very calm flight instructor brought the airplane back to “normal” I requested that we end the flying lesson for that day. So we headed back to the airport which was about 15 minutes away.

As we flew back I still felt a little nauseous and had that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Once we landed and I was once again walking around this feeling went away.

But what was still on my mind were the “what ifs.”

“What if the plane crashed and my life had ended right then and there.”

I knew that there was still so much left in my life to accomplish. And as strange as it sounds this was my biggest fear of all.

The other main thought that was going through my mind at the time was the idea of missing out on those special events with friends, family, and the people I cared about most.

Now, most people don’t go through a situation like I did in an airplane to realize this. However, many people do go through this during their daily lives because of a fear they may not even be aware of.

So whether you have a known fear or one that you just can’t quite put your finger on, just know that it’s much wiser to just move forward…even if you so called “fail” because the price of regret far outdistances any fear you could possibly have.

Many times I hear people say, “I wish I didn’t miss ___________.” Whether it was a special moment or event in their child’s life they missed because they had to work or didn’t have enough money…the fact is that there’s still that regret.

Yes, at times it seems like there’s not enough money and time. However when you look back at those one time events in your life and say, “I wish I had gone” it leaves you living a life of “should’s.”

In fact this reminds me of a very touching scene from Rocky 5. It’s when Rocky goes back to his old boxing gym that has been abandoned. He walks in and has a flashback to years earlier when he was being trained by his trainer Mickey.

And Mickey says to Rocky…

“If you wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t be alive today. The fact that you’re here and doing as well as you’re doing gives me the motivation to stay alive…because I think people die sometimes when they don’t want to live no more.”

Taking this even further for you…

“What is it that gives you the inspiration to stay alive?”

Is it watching your children grow? Is it a huge cause you have for others? Is it being there for your family?

What is it for you that keeps you going…that keeps you inspired and alive?

Because this is what will help you overcome those moments when you feel like giving up. This will help you overcome that fear that’s been stopping you…

And this is what also helps you take the “action” that at first you may not be sure of.

It all comes down to having that big enough reason(s) for why you want to accomplish what you want…and even if you’re not sure of what that is yet, this will help you get clear with that.

3. Does time wait for you- Even though my flight instructor that day was at first sitting there calm as can be, once he took action he didn’t waste any time pulling that soon to be crashing airplane out of the spin I put it in.

The same is true as it relates to your life.

And more specifically…

Are you waiting for things to happen as time passes by?

Because the bottom line is that your time is precious. Time doesn’t wait for anyone. Never has and never will.

And this is incredibly important because during your life you’ll come to that crossroads moment. You’ll have that decision to make that will take you down path “A” or path “B.”

Whatever that path is for you, just know that you’ll still have the positives and negatives, the ups and downs, the supports and challenges, the pains and pleasures.

Also realize that if you try and live the “easy” life, that it’ll certainly result in having more difficulty in some form. The bottom line is that you’ll always have ease and difficulty so you may as well go out and do what you love.

Because It’s much more fulfilling to deal with the ease and difficulty when you’re pursuing what you love versus if you’re pursuing something you “have to” or are “supposed to” be doing.

Now I know this is a little longer than usual but I want to leave you with one of the most important reminders you’ll ever get from me. It was found on the internet so I’m not sure who wrote it…

To realize the value of one year—ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of nine months—ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize the value of one month—ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week—ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour—ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute—ask a person who has missed a train, bus, or airplane.

To realize the value of one second—ask a person who has survived an injury.

To realize the value of one millisecond—ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

To realize the value of a loved one—have them leave.

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

…And now I want to add,

To realize the value and magnificence of who you are look in the mirror and know how much you do matter to the world and the people around you.

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