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Success on the Fly: Autopilot

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 6th, 2012

Chris Waugh

Airplanes practically fly themselves these days. Many have autopilot, which takes care of the repetitive, mundane, routine tasks of the flight.

You have an autopilot function, just like an aircraft. On one hand, it’s a wonderful convenience. It allows you to do repetitive tasks without conscious thought.

When you first learn a task, it requires a great deal of your concentration. Over time it becomes habit, and you don’t think about it any more.

What would you do if you had to concentrate and focus on driving to work, opening a desk drawer to find a paperclip, picking up a fork to eat, or bending over to tie your shoes? Your autopilot saves you time and energy. Your mind wants to help, and your autopilot kicks in to take the pressure off of you.

Sometimes it’s so automatic that you don’t think about whether or not you should be using it. Your autopilot may be performing a routine that is no longer appropriate or important to you. You have to override it occasionally, and take back control.

Unfortunately, many people fly through their whole lives on autopilot. Be mindful of this tendency. Decide when to let the autopilot take control, and when you should be in charge.

Take a little time this week to challenge your autopilot:

• Are you spending your time doing what matters to you, or just following the same habits you did yesterday?

• How do you talk to yourself? Do you use respectful terms or do you deflate your own ego?

• Do you follow the same path to work every day? The same routine at work? Try some changes this week.

• If you let certain people bother you, try responding to them in a totally different way.

• Try out a brand new recreational opportunity, or take a class about something new to you.

You might decide your original habits are still best for you, but at least it will be a conscious decision!

Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.

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