Sometimes the most startling revelations come at the oddest times in the most unexpected places. Like in Seat 10D on a Northwest airlines flight from Indianapolis to Kansas City.
It’s late afternoon and most of the passengers are businesspeople who just want to decompress after a day of meetings. So, when the little boy in the seat behind me started jabbering incessantly about 30 minutes ago, my first reaction was “It’s going to be a long flight.”
After a few minutes of trying to tune him out, I realized I was failing. The exuberance in his voice about what was obviously his first plane ride was actually drawing me in!
“Hey, Dad, if we had a plane, we could use it however we wanted. We could drive it like a car if we wanted. We could fly it if we wanted. “
“Why didn’t we bring our helmets? We could wear space helmets like they do in the movies because, you know, we’re going into outer space.”
And on and on and on . . . he was so excited he could hardly speak fast enough.
As he continued his unrestrained observations, I noticed quiet grins as the other passengers read their magazines or rested their eyes. This 4- or 5-year-old kid was reminding a plane full of weary business people how much fun it can be to use our imaginations . . . to see possibilities instead of practicalities . . .
“No, you can’t drive a passenger jet down a highway, stupid kid.”
“No you don’t need a helmet because we’re NOT going into outer space – a plane like this would disintegrate, silly!”
The higher we climbed, the more he commented on how different the things on the ground looked from his vantage point up here. Then he suddenly switched perspective and blurted, “All they can see from down there are our lights. They can’t see the whole plane like we can from up here.”
Bingo. Give that kid a book contract, sign him up for a speaking tour – without any business experience, he just imparted what the business management gurus have been espousing for years: to take the time once a week, once a month, whatever it may be, to take a look at your business from 30,000 feet up. When you’re down on the ground and surrounded by all the day-to-day details, that’s all you see. You certainly can’t see the “whole plane” from down there.
30,000 feet up in an airplane . . . what an appropriate place to get a lesson on looking at your business from 30,000 feet up . . . go book your next flight right now.