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Empty Tank

July 01, 2018

I have to admit this last few weeks have been quite busy for me considering that I had exams going on, and as a result, I haven’t really been putting in a lot of focus on reading books like I did the first half of the year. Nevertheless, I am glad that so far I just finished my 27th book and I’m now on the 28th book in the ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 book reading challenge. This is a book I had seen on a bookshelf sometime back but I didn’t feel the urge to pick it up, but this last week I found it in someone’s office and the desire to read it was so overwhelming that I decided it was going to be my next read. Though at this point it is not the book I am recommending for this week’s challenge, the title of the book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things;Building a business when there are no easy answers by Ben Horowitz. 


Still speaking about books, there’s this story I read from If it is going to be then it’s up to me by Robert Schuller that has really been making rounds in my head. I honestly wanted to write about something different today but every time I remember that story I feel compelled to write about it in this week’s article. So let me share it in my own words as follows....


A pilot landed his private plane at the Burbank Airport in California. He was going to pick up his mother and father and as soon as they were on board, he took off promptly. Unfortunately before he could go far, he crashed the plane and killed all the passengers in the plane. The most interesting thing about this plane crash is that there was no fire! 


But how could that be, the inspectors asked themselves? On doing a further research, the inspectors realized that there was an absence of gas on the ground, which prompted them to check the gas tanks. Incredibly, the gas tanks were completely dry. According to eye witnesses, apparently the pilot was in such a rush that he did not have time to fuel up before takeoff.


As a result of this, he not only killed himself but he also killed the only other two passengers who were with him; his father and mother.


Could this accident have been avoided? Personally I believe it could have been avoided. Why? Because what really caused it was lack of gas in the gas tanks. It was not because of the weather, or because of a fire that started in the engine, or because of a bird that got sucked up into the engine, etc. No. The accident actually happened because the pilot was so much in a hurry to leave that he forgot a very fundamental fact; that a plane cannot fly without fuel.


After reading this story, I honestly couldn’t believe that the pilot could have been that negligent. If he missed the fact that the plane did not have enough fuel, then that could only mean that he never really went through all the pre-flight checklist that every pilot has to go through. If he had, I am sure he would have discovered that he did not have enough fuel, which would have saved his and his parent’s life.


You are probably thinking to yourself how foolish this pilot must have been but lets be honest, how many of you reading this article are flying without fuel in your planes? Yes, you read that right.


As you ponder on that, let me share with you a quote by one Michael Altshuler that says, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you are the pilot”. In other words, though you might not be a pilot who flies the latest Boeing in the normal blue skies, you do have the responsibility of being the pilot of your life. You have the full responsibility of ensuring that you fly in and out of different airspaces (life’s different challenges) safely and without any incidents and accidents, but unfortunately, many people are too much in a hurry to do what it takes to ensure their safety.


When I said earlier that many people are flying without fuel, this is what I meant; many people are going through life without being fully equipped to face any challenge that might come their way. I will mention a few examples that will help you understand what I mean.


For instance, you start a business but you do not even have any idea of how to run a business, how do you expect to succeed or excel in it if you don’t “refuel” by acquiring the knowledge you need in order to succeed in that business?  How will you manage if you don’t understudy others who have exceled in the same business you are doing?


How about relationships? You get into a relationship with a goal of getting married in the end, yet you don’t take the necessary steps to make sure the relationship grows to be a healthy relationship, how do you expect to realize your dream of starting a family with that person when you don’t have time now that you are not even married? Isn’t that flying without fuel in your relationship plane?


How about your health? You know you have not been taking care of your health even though your doctor has been telling you that you need to reduce your weight and add exercises to your daily routine. Yet you keep saying you are too busy with your work or business to find time to exercise. So the day you will be diagnosed with a lifestyle disease such as diabetes or blood pressure, who will you blame? Is that not the same thing as that pilot who went flying without fuel in his tanks? Are you not flying without fuel in your health tanks?


How about your academics? You know you haven’t been focusing in class and you also haven’t been having your own study time away from class. Now that the academic year is coming to an end you know you are required to sit for exams in a few days. Then you walk into class without proper prior preparation expecting to perform wonders. Surely, unless you know something else we don’t, naturally you should not expect to pass those exams because you would actually be flying without  fuel in your academic tanks. 


How about spiritual issues? Of course I do realize that we all have different spiritual beliefs and affiliations but this is an area of our lives that many people neglect and as a result, when tests and trials come their way they find they have no proper foundation or grounding to overcome those tests. Why? Because they are flying with spiritually empty tanks.


I guess those are enough examples.


Friends, the whole point of this article is to remind us the basics. You need to be well equipped in every area of your life for you to achieve the results you should in life. If you are to reach your destiny as you were expected to by your creator, then you need to be fully prepared to do so. You need to ensure that your tanks are full. Don’t be too much in a hurry to take off when you are not prepared.


If it means learning a new skill for you to achieve your destiny then by all means get that new skill. If it means auditing your current relationships and creating new meaningful ones, then by all means do what you need to do. If it means seriously completely overhauling your current business structure in order to achieve what you have wanted to achieve all this time, then by all means do.


Speaking of business, I think I will let the book by Ben Morowitz be the recommended book for this week. If you can, get yourself a copy of The Hard Thing About Hard Things and go through it. It will show you how important it is to “refuel your plane” in business after every stop (business deal/business loss). Besides, looking at the world trends right now, it is a very timely read for people in the business world.


As we step into the next half of the year, let’s not give up on our dreams and goals. Maybe you haven’t achieved much of what you wanted to have achieved by this time in your life. You still have six more months to go. All you need to do is make sure that you are not flying the rest of the year without fuel in your tanks.


Refuel before you take off again.


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 1st of July, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".





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