I’m writing this from 30,000 feet, aboard an American Airlines flight as I head to Dallas to see my daughter. I fly First Class whenever I can (the benefits outweigh the cost) but when I went to book the ticket a few months ago, I saw a $169 deal on a seat in the main cabin that was just too good to pass up.
Come travel day, I checked in at the baggage ticket counter and asked the agent what my chances were of getting the sky-miles upgrade I had requested when I originally booked. He said, “You’re second on the list.” I was in an extroverted mood, so I smiled and chatted away with him. He was going to charge me for my two bags until I pleasantly asked him if my Gold or Ruby status didn’t allow me free baggage. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “You’re Premier as far as I’m concerned.”
I didn’t think much of it as I made my way to security, simply happy to be heading off to see my girl. I figured the odds of getting into First Class weren’t necessarily great, given the small business-class cabin on the old McDonald-Douglas S80 I’d be on.
I made my perfunctory stop at Starbucks for my quad decaf latte (extra foam). I visited the ladies room. I checked the boarding group on my ticket. And finally, I queued up to board the plane. As I handed the gate agent my ticket and inquired, “If I’m waiting to see about an upgrade, should I stay out here in the boarding area?” He looked at my ticket, looked back at me puzzled, and said, “You’re already in First Class. See right here—your ticket says 5B.”
I had been carrying around a
First Class ticket and didn’t even realize it.
Tickled that Life and Love (God, in my book) had allowed me this delightful little surprise, there was a lilt in my step as I walked down the jet way.
Brain Coach Application
Our cerebral cortex, the thinking part of our brain, processes at 2,000 bits of information per second. The unconscious processes an astounding 40 billion bits per second. As Pam Grote writes in her book E-Squared:
“Needless to say, that’s a heck of a lot of reality [to process]. So what do we do? We start screening. We start narrowing down. I’ll take that bit of information over there, and let’s see—this one fits nicely with my ongoing soap opera about the opposite sex. When all is said and down, we’re down to 2,000 measly bits of information. … What we choose to take in is only one-half of one-millionth of a percent of what’s out there.”
At the airport, my brain was busy filtering data, taking in what I was expecting. My brain told me, “You’re in the main cabin.” I fixated on what the first agent said early in our conversation, “you’re second on the list.” And so I didn’t even look at my ticket when he handed it to me.
Unbeknownst to me, the agent had upgraded me after our pleasant exchange about baggage charges. That was the reason for the twinkle in his eye when he handed me the ticket. I just assumed he was turning on his customer service charm.
As I settled into my comfy leather seat, the “surprise ticket” sunk in further, and I quickly saw the analogy to life. How often are we meant to experience delights, ease, and successes, but we don’t even see what is in front of us because we’ve primed our brains to only look for second-class results!
- What if you’ve (metaphorically) got a first-class ticket but are expecting second-class success?
- Are you expecting less?
- Are you assuming, “it won’t work out?”
- Do you think, “Things like that don’t happen for me?”
- What would it take to shift your focus and widen your aperture?
- How would life be different if you primed your brain for a First Class life?