I recently spent a delightful hour having coffee with a former co-worker I hadn’t been in touch with for 12 years. We had some very fond memories of our work together and spent part of the time bringing each other up to speed on our lives over the past decade. Since both of us are runners we congratulated each other on keeping fit and looking good in our old(er) age (my Mom used to say the secret to a good life is to grow old gracefully – trying Mom!).
Anyway, he told me a story about his son, who is now a commercial pilot flying for Tiger Airways in Southeast Asia. But how he got there, from a London grammar school, was a great story in maturity and the principle of “Keeping your eye on the goal, not the obstacles”.
His son was very heavy into the junior RAF (Royal Air Force) cadets in school, was head of the group in high school and then went to university to graduate with an honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering. A week after graduation he was slated to take his physical for the RAF Flight School Training. A strapping young man in the peak of health, no worries. But on his high school medical record were two notations, “Chesty Cough”, and the official policy was two mentions on a record and you are disqualified.
Anyone feeling shattered for this young man? I was. Here comes one of the good parts. The RAF really wanted him in the service and asked him to come in as an engineer. He told his dad he couldn’t stand being on the ground watching the other guys fly. He still had his heart set on being a pilot. About a year later he saw a Net Jets advertisement stating that they were growing and were recruiting for pilot training. He applied and was immediately accepted. Dream coming closer!
He was sent to flight school in the US and for a year all was going great until the Banking Crisis and the economy tanked. They cut back on flight training, then on pilots and his hopes of becoming a commercial pilot were smashed again. (By now I’m ready to become a school teacher and be done with all this bad luck). But he still had his eye on the goal and through hard work and a little luck, is now a full-fledged commercial pilot for Tiger Airways.
How many young people (or oldies for that matter) do you know with that type of strong focus and determination to reach their goals? Maybe we can take one setback, but rarely two.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” ~Calvin Coolidge
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress