There was a wonderful anecdote shared on The West Wing by Senator Howard Stackhouse who is just about to pull out of the Presidential race after threatening to stay in it to provoke an honest debate between the two nominees.
I was telling Josh Lyman about a friend who just got his pilot’s license. He told me the most remarkable thing. He said a new pilot will fly into cloud cover. There’ll be no visibility. And they’ll check their gauges, they’ll look at the artificial horizon, it’ll show them level, but they won’t trust it. So, they’ll make an adjustment and then another and another… He said the number of new pilots who fly out of clouds completely upside-down would knock you out. My office will make arrangements for me to endorse you in the morning. You keep your eyes on the horizon, Mr. President.
I took away 2 reflections from that anecdote.
First, it is that amateurs’ compasses often lie outside of their own self. I guess that is natural because you have likely spent so much time listening to a teacher and haven’t yet transferred the compass within. As a result, you aren’t sure of much and tend to over-adjust to what you think is feedback.
Second, we all fly into cloud cover from time to time. Do we choose to react to it? Or, do we keep our eyes on the horizon?
And, perhaps, most importantly, do we even know what our horizon is?