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My Two Cents Worth - The Importance of Attitude

By Randy Mains

A story highlighting the importance of attitude was told to more than 100 flight instructors, of which I was one, working for Bell Helicopter International in Iran.  We were attending a two-day flight instructor refresher seminar put on by the A.O.P.A. for the two-year renewal of our CFI’s.  I have never forgotten that story.  The relevance and strong message it delivered really hit home how important attitude is in whatever we do in life, especially for us if we were to be successful flight instructors.

The story goes like this:  A newlywed couple on their honeymoon are removing their clothes making preparations to consummate their marriage.  Think soft, low light.  Romantic music drifting on perfumed air.  A chilled bottle of Dom Perignon sitting by the bedside.  The husband steps out of his trousers and says to his petite new bride, “Honey, will you do me a favor?”

“Sure sweetheart, anything, what is it?”

“Would you put on my pants?”

Thinking it an odd request but eager to please him she says, “Sure, OK.” Stepping into them she pulls them up waist high then holds the waistband out in front of her about ten inches and says, “Sweetheart, you know, I don’t think this’ll work.  I can’t fit into your pants.”

The husband says, “And that’s what I want to make clear from the get-go.  I want you to remember that I wear the pants in the family, I make the decisions.”
She pauses, taking in what he’d just said, nods, steps demurely out of his pants folds them neatly and places them on the bedroom chair.  She turns and says, “Sweetheart, would you do ME a favor?”

“Of course honey, anything, just name it.”

“Would you please put on MY panties?”

Thinking it an odd request but wanting to please her he takes her panties from her finely manicured hand placing first one leg, then his other leg into them and tries to pull them up.  He manages to get them about mid thigh until they will go no higher.  He looks up at her in bewilderment and says, “Honey, I can’t get into your panties.”

And she answers, “And that’s right, buster, and you aren’t going to unless you change that attitude!”

We have the power to choose how we react to any situation.  We can choose to be happy or we can choose to be sad.  We can choose to find the positive or choose to dwell on the negative.  Attitude is within our control.  A positive attitude will help to get you hired.  A negative or bad attitude will get you fired.  The right attitude will get you, well…where you want to be.  The wrong attitude will, like the newlywed husband, earn you a cold shower.

I’ve discovered that a sour attitude usually has more to do with what is going on in a person’s ‘back story’ of their life.  To give you an example, I was flying in a Bell 412 one day with my good friend, Jerry, in the Zakum oil field in the Persian Gulf.  I’d known Jerry since we flew together in Iran as instructor pilots thirty years prior.  He was unusually grumpy that day complaining about this and that, all that was wrong with the company, what this pilot did, what that pilot did, in short, he was complaining about everything.

I finally had had enough and said over the intercom, “You know, Jerry, normally flying with you is fun but today you’re a grumpy, king-size pain in the butt.”

Jerry sulked for a moment then said, “Yeah, well what are you so happy about then?”

“Well, I’m alive!  Everything works, no aches and pains.  The company has given two
good friends who’ve known one another for 30 years a multi-million dollar helicopter to fly in the sunshine.  What’s not to be happy about?  It’s not like you to be so grumpy.”
He got real quiet.  I continued in a gentler tone.  “You know, Jerry, when you get mad at your wife for not putting the toothpaste lid on the toothpaste, it’s got nothing to do at all with the toothpaste lid.  Now what’s really going on?”

He thought for a moment then confided in me telling me that his wife, who was back home in the States, was about to go in for surgery.

“Well that makes sense then, Jerry.”

As we flew he talked about it.  His attitude changed by opening up, making the rest of the day much brighter for both of us.  At least his whining stopped which did a world of good for my attitude.

Randy is an Author of several books, a public speaker, and CRM / AMRM Consultant who continues to work in the helicopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently works as a Bell 412EP flight simulator instructor / examiner for Abu Dhabi Aviation.He may be contacted at info@randymains.com or www.randymains.com.

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