While on my way home from an out-of-town trip, I was scheduled to grab a connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany. Long story short, I missed that connection because my flight there was delayed—first by 45 minutes, then by two hours.
Now, if you’ve ever flown before, then you know how irritated any type of airline delay can make some of the travelers. And every person handles their irritation in their own way. Some sit there and just glare at the airline personnel as if they’re personally responsible for the delay and others are a little more vocal, sharing their disgust as loudly and as seething as they can. However, my guess is that if you asked the travelers if they had a pressing event that they were going to miss due to the delay, a large majority would say no.
They weren’t on their way to a wedding, a funeral, or other one-time events that they were going to miss because their plane took off later than expected. They didn’t have an appointment at a specific time that was so incredibly critical or pressing, meaning that civilization as we know it would not be irreparably harmed by the fact that their flight was not going to leave when it should. So why all of the worry and irritation?
Isn’t it easier to let go of whatever is outside our control, such as when our flight will land and take off, and simply accept that that is how it is? Wouldn’t our energy be better used elsewhere, somewhere more positive and engaging, then tying it up concerned about whether we will take off an hour late or if we’ll arrive home on time to get to bed when we planned?
By letting go of the things that we cannot change, we are able to direct our focus, our energy, to things that can actually advance us. Things that can improve our lives versus detract from them because we’re so busy being angry, upset, or frustrated.
Turning these negative into positives means using that time that we didn’t plan to have to do things that can take us further in our lives. For instance, if you own a business, why not take the extra time and work on that business plan you’ve been putting off. Of if you’re the president of some type of group or organization, take those extra minutes or hours or even a day to come up with new fundraising ideas or recruitment drives.
Taking these types of situations and using them to your benefit not only helps you pass the time, but you’re often able to cross some items off your to-do list in the process. So when you’re back on track and finally on your way to your destination, you feel good about everything you’ve accomplished because you’re actually two steps ahead instead of one step behind.
I challenge you to take the detours in your life and use them to push yourself forward as opposed to thinking about them as holding you back. That way, when they appear, which they will from time to time, you’ll actually approach them with a smile because you know that you’ll benefit in the long run. You’ll be using your energy in a way that will promote you, making it more than worth the delay.