In the book Gift of Wings, Richard Bach writes about the people who look up to the sky to watch airplanes, people who slow down when driving past airports. He says, “If you act this way, it’s possible that in flight you’ll find much to learn of yourself and of the path of your life on this planet.” Of course, he’s right. Gentle words reminding us that the sky is a calling. A higher pursuit of man. And the sky, like the wilderness or the sea, requires our constant application and respect.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, Drink the wild air‘s salubrity.” Ralph Waldo Emerson preface of ‘Considerations by the Way’ published in ‘The Conduct of Life’,(1860, revised 1876).
“Flying is a great equalizer. The plane doesn’t know or care about your gender as a pilot … You just have to perform.” Lt. Col. Christine Mau, USAF. The plane also doesn’t know or care if you’re tired, or if you were going to study more tomorrow, or if you’re in a hurry. Quote is in a nice article, Meet The First Female F-35 Pilot, by Tom Demerly. “You just have to perform. That’s all anyone cares about when you’re up there — that you can do your job, and that you do it exceptionally well.”
Former Concorde instructor Captain Mike Riley on how we teach ourselves to fly. We need good lessons, but ultimately it’s an inner game. Photo from my flight in the Brooklands Concorde simulator. Quote in Mike’s The Concorde Stick and Rudder Book.
Excellence is super cool amazing. But you don’t get there by wishing or hoping or staying safe and comfortable. Your call. (For more from Josh about excellence, see JoshWaitzkin.com)