I have had occasion recently to hop a plane without my usual travelling companion (LB)- this has caused me to spend more time watching people and making observations about the travelling experience.
- When did hats become a default fashion item in the lounge and I am not talking about your ubiquitous baseball caps which are sported by people who are old enough to know better. I am talking about full on cowboy hats – who in Australia wears a friggen cowboy hat. Apparently, a host of wankers are going to do cowboy stuff in the Virgin Lounge. Either that or they are off to the 51st Annual Bugger a Bovine Convention.
- The bar in the Virgin lounge opens at 11.00am and people start to queue up at 10.55am. Australia is either composed of a nation of pissheads who will ignore all social norms for free beer. Or most flyers are profoundly nervous and are self-medicating.
- Who let children in the damned lounge – enough said.
- Did you know that it is possible for three rejects from the reality tv show I Thought Cheap Plastic Surgery in Uzbekistan Was A Good Idea to talk for an hour and ten about eyebrows without ever repeating themselves. Who would have guessed that – certainly not me who had to listen to them prattle on.
- Why does we always run into turbulence when I am in the toilet. It’s hard enough to shoot straight at the best of times without being subjected to the aeronautical equivalent of a kids bouncing castle. And as an aside who the hell manages to have sex in an aircraft toilet. I struggle to to find sufficient space to zip up properly without tearing the head off little Christopher without contemplating how you would engage in horizontal folk dancing with someone else in a odd shaped cubicle that would challenge a hobbit.
However, these are simple digressions on my journey – my main point is about success as will become apparent because sometimes in life what you see is not what you get.
As a case in point I often get a driver to pick me up when I can’t be bothered driving to the airport. So, I stroll off the plane with yoga mat and backpack in hand – I should mention I am wearing my usual travelling attire of faded t- shirt, shorts and runners. Yes, you heard that right I travelled with a yoga mat. I head down the escalator toward the baggage carousel and I spy the bloke holding up an iPad displaying my name and I set course for him through the throng of peanuts scrambling to be first in line to wait for their bags.
I park myself in front of the driver and he steadfastly ignores – its not as if I am the most inconspicuous looking individual. He continues to ignore me looking at all the suits behind me. I eventually get his attention by the not so subtle method of saying – Mate…..that’s me whilst pointing at his iPad. Oh…..yeah oh…..I was looking at the people behind you…. Of course you were..
Success has a face that is both acceptable and known to others – anything outside of this narrow paradigm is confusing for people. This is an issue all traders will come across at some point in their career. Often it will come from their family who will not recognise that what we do is a path to a life they were not able or fortunate enough to achieve. This is particularly true for those who come from migrant families where the definition of success is very narrow and anything that varies from this path is not recognised as being successful. This inevitably generates some form of tension as you are not conforming to the archetype that others had envisaged for you. Note I said that others had envisaged – it is not your archetype but too often we are concerned about the expectations that others have for us. We treat their imagined life as our imagined life without stopping to think whether it is what we want. This is a path I have been down, and I have had lots of companions along the way, some have been able to deal with the pressure of unwanted expectation and some haven’t.
However, it should be noted that notions of how success looks can also be internally generated. Whilst jumping the plane at a reasonably early hour on one of my recent solo voyages I followed a bunch of suits down the stairs and listened to them crap on endlessly about the meetings they were having to go to and how long the meeting was going to go for and how desperately important they were. They did this all at a volume that others around them could hear – to them this was their definition of success. However, to me wearing a suit and having to be somewhere because you have been told to is not such much a sign of failure but of unfulfilled promise.
For each of us success has a definition and orbiting this internal definition is the notion of expectation. People expect someone who has a driver to look and act in a certain way. I chose to look the way I want to because I don’t have to be anything else. There is nothing forced upon me and this occurs for a simple reason – decades ago I made a choice. That choice whilst initially incredibly difficult and aided by luck has enabled me to live my life as I choose to live it. I don’t have to wear a suit I don’t have to go somewhere I don’t want to. I am jumping a plane because I am off to see a mad Dutch bastard with an ice bath. However, that is a different tale.