A recent vacation highlight for my wife and me was a tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier in SanDiego. The ship was huge and learning the number of crew it took to perform and execute all the specific responsibilities and the challenges of doing so, was amazing.
At one point, we sat to hear a veteran pilot explain the procedure of landing aircraft on the carrier out at sea. He mentioned that he had probably done this over a thousand times.
Although there were times, like at night, or in bad weather when landing a plane would be a white-knuckle experience (very stressful); he explained that most of the time the conditions at sea were fairly good and landing the plane was relatively easy and rather routine.
He further taught us that a pilot’s confidence in his abilities could lead to a lack of focus and carelessness. On an aircraft carrier with so much happening on deck, this could be fatal.
So, to remedy this situation, the pilots were graded on every landing they made. Once they were graded, their scores would be posted on a wall for all to see. On top of that, each pilot would be ranked based on his overall performance for a given period of time.
He chuckled, “and you didn’t want to have your name listed at the bottom”!
To further the competition, sometimes the pilots would bet each other as to who would get the better scores. They would form teams and compete. When they went ashore, the worst ranked team would have to buy everyone’s main course for dinner (it would be expensive.) The next lowest-ranked team would have to buy the drinks for everyone. Finally, the second place team would buy dessert. The winners–they would just enjoy it all –free of charge!
The lesson is that we need to safeguard ourselves from getting
careless, just like the pilots. Really, thought-less, in the way we live our lives.
Do we have specific goals for the different areas of responsibility in our lives
(relationship with God, our health, our family, our finances, our work, our volunteering
efforts, our own rest time)?
Do we have systems in place, or friends to hold us accountable to our goals?
Do we have good intentions for the way we live our lives, or are we intentional about
what we do and why we do things?
Let us all take a tip from a pilot and accept measurement tools as a resource to help us perform at our best .