I’ve talked before about the good thinking I can do on an airplane. I fly a lot and while not every flight is full of insight, more often than not, I find that I can dig deeply into a project or problem up above 10,000 feet.
Plus the view is amazing.
Today, as I flew east across the United States, I was literally and figuratively above the fray. We bumped our way up through the icy clouds and carefully picked our way through fog and wind shears on the way down. But for several hours, I was bathed in sunshine and worked with great focus in the window seats of two flights.
Down there was weather and traffic and chores. Up above was quiet, a drinks cart and uninterrupted time.
Why is it so difficult to create these same kind of mental spaces on the ground? It shouldn’t be that hard to put the phone on airplane mode and simply think. It would seem to be a worthy priority to give my brain and spirit the space to shape my thoughts into something new.
No matter where we are, at home or at the office, in a coffee shop or on a park bench, the opportunities for distraction and procrastination abound. To get above the fray, we need to limit our choices. Turn off the phone. Pick a seat and buckle in (metaphorically speaking).
By limiting our inputs and our options, we are strangely more free than normal. Free to think different thoughts, from beginning to end, seeing where our imaginations and desires can take us.
Even if the view isn’t quite as spectacular.
Photo taken by me with an iPhone.