Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Suspicious minds

Hello again,

Today, I am going to talk about something that happened on one of our recent fear of flying courses which I suspect a lot of you will be able to relate to....

I have called this Blog 'suspicious minds' today.

At the end of our courses, we always do a flight. This is a chance for people to update themselves in terms of how they 'used to feel about flying' versus how they 'now feel about flying.' 

It is a fantastic part of the day and the euphoria is something to behold.

Anyway, this is what happened.  We all check in to our flight. Boarding cards are issued.  One of our passengers then comes up to me quite upset.  He demands that we change his boarding card seat allocation.



He was seated in row number one, seat letter E.  Anything about this that has occured to you????

This was how it was written

01E


This spelt DIE to our customer and he took this as a sign of imminent death.

I am not mocking this person.  My message is simply this. If we allow this type of thinking to become something that governs our behaviour, then it is very easy to let all sorts of other suspicious thinking take hold. For example:

'I must fly in seat 41A and only this seat.'
'I must sit next to an aisle.'
'I won't fly on Turbo Prop aircraft.'
'I won't take flights at night as they are less safe.'

One of the annoying things I do to people on our courses (with their permission) is push them to challenge any rigid thinking. For example, one person on our Leeds course last weekend, won't look out the window. So, I encouraged her to take peeks, then glances and then eventually she watched the landing.

Maybe, you could think about any types of 'rules' or 'rituals' that you set for yourself?  Do they really keep you safe?

Take care

Paul and Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear Team




1 comment:

  1. Isn't it interesting how easily the human mind can seek and find evidence to support what it already believes rather than looking for alternate explanations.

    Some people seem to be on the lookout for "signs" more than others, and will find them anywhere. It is important for a business to fix things that might be interpreted as "signs" but you have to put yourself in the other person's shoes to find them (or listen to what they tell you).

    For example, years ago there was a small parachuting operation that found they had a lot of first time skydivers showing up to their plane and then change their minds at the last minute. Not surprising, I suppose, but they were losing more customers than their competition.

    To my knowledge their operation was as safe as any other, but their plane looked a little shabby so they gave it a new lick of paint. Did a new paint job fix the problem? No.

    It took them a long time to see the problem themselves because, to regular skydivers, there was nothing to be scared of in what they do.

    They eventually solved it by changing the registration of the plane, allowing them to change the registration letters painted prominently on the tail.

    Their airplane's old registration letters were "DOA"

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