Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

Hands off the wheel…

Take your hands off the wheel.

Back Story

There was a point in my life when I wanted to be a pilot, so I took flying lessons. One of the key lessons I learned was that a common cause of accidents in small planes is when the pilot, faced with a dangerous situation, tries to correct the problem through employing extraordinary measures. This results in over-correction, which in turn leads to disaster. It turns out that some small planes are designed to naturally (aerodynamically) regain a state of equilibrium by themselves, and that in many situations the pilot need not attempt to correct a problem at all, but would be best served by taking their hands off the wheel, so that the plane itself can recover as it was designed to do. Knowing when to act and when not to act when confronted with an emergency is a tough call, but an experienced pilot knows that there are times when trying to make things better will only make matters worse.

Of course, we are not only talking here about flying lessons or piloting aircraft. We are talking about life. Are you grappling with an issue that seems to defy correction/resolution? If so, might it be a case of needing to “take your hands off the wheel” and waiting to see if the system resolves itself based on its own internal dynamics? Are you possibly courting disaster because you believe more in your own efficacy to address a situation than in the ability of either another person, or even a machine, to do the same—perhaps in a more meaningful and lasting way? In the end, when you are faced with any dire challenge, only you can decide how to meet the challenge…but for goodness sake, at least ask yourself whether the best course of action might be to “take your hands off the wheel” and let the problem resolve itself for you.

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