Two Wrongs

Hovering a Helicopter

Hovering a Helicopter

It is my understanding that when you learn to hover a helicopter – a difficult task – you will spin out of control a few times. You will be tempted to say to your instructor, “Your controls”, and let go of the stick. Before you have a chance to utter those words, a good instructor will remind you, “Don’t give up.”

There is a lot of information packed into that three-word phrase. Let’s get the apparent out of the way first, and then move on to the more interesting,

  1. “Don’t give up” means “I see your struggle. I encourage you to continue and you have my emotional support through this difficult process.”
  2. “Don’t give up” means “Learning to recover from a brief loss of control is an essential skill you need to practise for its own sake, because it will happen later and you need to be able to deal with it on your own at that point.”
  3. “Don’t give up” means “When recovering from a brief loss of control, you are practising the very mental and physical skills that will allow you to prevent this kind of loss of control in the future.”

To me, this has become a metaphor for a lot of situations in life. When doing difficult things, one is bound to end up in undesirable situations which one ought to have prevented in the first place. To make the most of it, it is critical in these situations to not give up, but rather retain the intention of learning whatever the situation, and fight through it as best as one can.

Surprisingly often, whatever you need to do to handle an undesirable situation is not just practise at handling the undesirable situation, but also at how to avoid it in the first place.

This is not time wasted, this is intense practise at the difficult thing.