An Unexpected Side-Effect

In which I discuss some things I’m learning about myself from this flying caper.


Learning to fly is having an unexpected side-effect on me – I’m learning a lot about myself.

I’m discovering that I have what I can only describe as ‘perfectionist tendencies’. I’m not a perfectionist, not by a long shot, I know that, but I’ve no idea how else to describe how I’m feeling. I have this overwhelming feeling that I should remember everything after hearing it once and get everything right the first time. Thus, I don’t ask nearly as many questions as I should be. I just feel that ‘clearly’ everyone else remembers everything easily and gets everything right straight away. Even though I know this isn’t true, and logically can’t be true, I still feel like it. So, I feel like, if I ask questions, I’ll look like an idiot. And even though I know that learning is more important than looking like an idiot, it’s still hard to get over these ‘perfectionist tendencies’ – that I should be getting everything right the first time.

I think part of the reason I feel like this is that I feel out of my depth when it comes to flying. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a complete novice at something, so I guess I’ve forgotten what it feels like to only have limited knowledge and experience. Add to that the fact that I’m not mechanically or scientifically minded, yet I’m pursuing a hobby that has strong mechanical/scientific elements, and that just makes my ‘out of depth’ feeling worse. I guess this is partly the reason I feel I need to get everything right the first time – so I can prove I’m just as ‘good’ as all the other students (or at least what I imagine the other students to be).

I’ve also discovered that I’m vague about important things – like the whole handing over/taking over thing. I think that when I was first told to do it, I was thinking of so many other things as well (the whole overwhelming ‘first flight’ experience) and I didn’t realise how serious things could get if that wasn’t followed. Add to that my discomfort with the headset mic, and I’m a bit of a hopeless case. I feel I owe J an apology for my vagueness really…and will probably do so next lesson.

I think the main source of my problems is my insecurity in my own ability. When it comes to things I know, like music, I’m completely confident and in control and know exactly what I’m doing. With flying, I still lack confidence in myself. For example, with the preflight, I do the checks but I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to check and whether or not I’m doing the right thing. I think I need to start approaching it more professionally – I’m not just someone turning up to learn a bit about flying a plane, I am now a STUDENT PILOT and I need to act like one. I need to become more proactive about my learning.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start asking more questions from next lesson onwards, or at least try to. It is my own learning that is at stake here, and I am paying to be taught and have my questions answered. It will be entirely my own fault if I don’t ask the questions and learn what I need to. I need to take control.


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