As I uncomfortably squeeze into the middle seat on an “extremely full” (as the flight attendants announced at least 30 times) flight back to Minneapolis, I patiently waited for someone to take the aisle seat next to me. “The cabin door is now closed,” the flight crew announced. Looks like this is my lucky day, the only vacant seat on the flight was next to me! My neighbor and I were ecstatic about all of the legroom we would have amongst many people who were nowhere near Minnesota Nice.
As I made myself comfortable in the aisle seat (which is my preference, anyway) and get situated, I see a woman bounding down the aisle in the type of mom jeans you want to burn. Maybe, just maybe, there’s another empty seat in the back.
I had a split second to decide if I claim the aisle seat as my own. I had to make a quick decision to either get up without a word, and let her squeeze her mom jeans into seat 6E, or guiltily grab my belongings and move over. (I mean, she paid for this seat, it’s rightfully hers.)
I bet you can guess what I did?
Yeah, I guiltily grabbed my belongings and slid over into 6E.
As the woman got comfortable I noticed she didn’t have any carry-on or personal items. “I thought they said they closed the cabin door? You just made it!” I politely exclaimed. (Well, my best attempt to not sound like a bitch).
“Oh, I was waiting to see if there were any open seats left, I am an employee of US Airways,” Mom Jeans informed me.
And there you have it folks. At 30,000 feet in the air, I let an opportunity slip right through my fingers at the fault of my good intentions.
So why do I care so much? It’s just seat 6E on flight 473 to Minneapolis.
It’s because at that exact moment I learned Mom Jeans reminded me I let opportunities get away from me, and let people dictate my life because I tend to be too nice at times.
Let me clarify something – there is nothing wrong with being nice. No one wants to talk to you if you have a shit personality. Being polite is a dying trait with us Millennial’s emerging with our iPhones as the only known source of communication into the real world.
With that said, being nice is a great trait to have. But you need to have some spunk to go along with it.
As I awkwardly tried to find a spot to rest my elbows without knocking the people next to me, I lost myself in regret for not taking that aisle seat.
I then started to regret not taking that interview because I needed to be loyal to one of my previous jobs. I then started to regret not moving to a better place because I feared the commute would swallow me whole. But look at me now, 23 and unemployed, all because I didn’t take some risks.
Let that be a lesson to those reading this, and most importantly – me.
What do you risk if you don’t try? What do you lose if you put yourself out there for others to see?
This inspiring clip from Jim Carrey’s commencement address at the MUM 2013 graduation ceremony promoted this post:
“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”
That is so eloquently said, and really resonated with me as I waited to board my plane back to Minneapolis.
(Watch the entire commencement speech here – it’s worth the 25 minutes)
So what did I learn on that two and a half hour flight cramped into seat 6E?
Always find a way to do what you love, and find open doors and proudly walk through them. Never pass up an opportunity for growth, say yes as often as possible, and bulldoze anything that comes in the way of your success.