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Adjusting Priorities

Looking back on the 16 months or so that I've been writing this blog, I see that I've managed to produce a post of at least 500 words every week since I started. Until last week, that is. Lying in bed with a nasty fever, I regretted not writing, but I was in no shape to do it. Like a flight canceled due to bad weather, it's something I just had to accept as part of life.

But it got me thinking. Am I really directing my energies according to my priorities? It's something I like to assess periodically, and I find I want to make some adjustments.

First of all, I love writing this blog and I am definitely going to continue it, but I also have other priorities competing for my time and attention. As I've mentioned many times in these pages, I'm writing a book, The Confident Pilot, a more in-depth treatment of the ideas I've been developing here. I'm studying to become a certified flight instructor, with the goal of earning that certificate this year. Oh, and I'm also working full-time for a living!

To prioritize and balance these goals effectively, it helps to be clear on what's motivating them. When someone asks why I want to become a flight instructor, I'm tempted to respond with a sly smile and say, "Why, for the money, of course!" All the CFIs I know would get a kick out of that! No, paltry CFI wages don't provide much incentive. The real reason is simply that I love flying and I love sharing it with others. I've introduced several friends to flying who've expressed an interest in learning and asked if I could teach them. A couple are actually serious about it. I also know from past experience that the best way to learn a craft is to teach it.

Writing the book is important to me because I want to be able to reach more people than I will ever be able to take flying in my little airplanes. As all the major aviation organizations including AOPA and EAA are saying these days, the viability of personal flying, from regulatory concerns to the continued availability of airplanes and aviation products, depends on whether we can increase the pilot population. We won't do that by "preaching to the choir" about the joys and benefits of aviation. We have to reach out to people who are not yet part of the aviation community and invite them in. We need to appeal to people's natural fascination with flight and make it clear to them that yes, they too can fly. It's not just for rich people, or talented people, or lantern-jawed test pilots with ice-water in their veins. Flying is accessible to everyone who's medically fit, has a strong desire, and has even modest financial means (more about that in a future post).

So it's clear to me that becoming a CFI and finishing my book are my top goals (aside from continuing to pay the bills!). As anyone knows who works full-time while also pursuing other interests, time is precious. Increasingly, I find that I want to make more time, energy, and focus available for writing my book, studying, and flight training. To that end, I've decided to limit these blog posts to bi-weekly for the foreseeable future.

I'll be learning at a rapid pace over the next few months, so I expect to have a lot to share in these pages. I've also found that writing about my experiences helps me derive even more benefit from them. It's incredibly helpful to reflect on the lessons of past flights, internalize them, and find a way to express them in words.

So, with all that in mind, look for my next post two weeks from now!

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