The Controllables

I'm writing this sitting at gate B3 in the Tulsa airport. They should be starting the boarding process for my flight to Denver right now, but unfortunately our plane has been delayed.


The announcement of a flight delay is a golden opportunity for people watching. You see an array of reactions. People throw their hands, let out long exhales as if they've been holding their breathe for minutes, and without fail, a line immediately forms at the gate agent counter.


I got in line this time, too. But I've been here before, I wasn't in a rush. As I stood behind my fellow delayed passengers, watching them wheel their bags to the counter when it was their turn, I noticed something. Almost every person that approached the counter really didn't have an idea of why they were going up to the counter in the first place. Most of them just frustratingly expressed their displeasure with the delay and asked them to repeat why it was happening.


It dawned on me, why was I line? What could I change about the situation? I can't find another plane for us or clear the weather up. What can I control?


With a tight connection, I knew disembarking my flight in Denver would be crucial to making my connection. I also knew that the gate agent was having a miserable time. So I decided I would focus on what I could control as I approached the counter.


I smiled and said, "You look like you're having fun!" The gate agent smirked and his shoulders relaxed a bit. We both knew he had no control over the flights, but he did have control over my seat assignment.

I left the counter in the same situation I approached it in, still unsure if I'll make it to my final destination this evening. However, now I'd be boarding with the first class customers.


We hear it often, but it never hurts to be said. When life hands us situations out of our control, nothing will impact our immediate future more than controlling the