What Is Clear-Air Turbulence?

Hello dear reader and welcome to my pokey blog! If you’re wondering what on earth it’s all about then you’ve come to the right page.

Clear-air Turbulence (CAT) is an aviation term defined as, “The turbulent movement of air masses in the absence of any visual clues, such as clouds, and is caused when bodies of air moving at widely different speeds meet.”  

As a pilot I felt the title not only serves nicely as metaphor for life, but for the issues this blog intends to explore. You see, much like CAT, I believe all of us deal with problems the rest of us can’t see – such as self-doubt, depression and anxiety – yet the turbulence we feel is very real.

What Is The Purpose Of This Blog?

I like the word purpose. I believe we all need one to lift us from the ground. Unfortunately for many, a lack of courage prevents us from even leaving the terminal building. To put it another way, it is our lack of courage in the face of fears that prevents us from not only from chasing our purpose, but from having the heart to look for it in the first place.

Issues with low self-esteem also make it difficult to navigate the inevitable CAT (fear) we all face when confronted with the overwhelming reality of life. When confronted with the obstacles we have to tackle in order to make our truest ambitions a reality. Ultimately it’s our fears that prevent us from living our lives to the full. 

This blog intends to explore the issues with low self-esteem while looking at how to navigate fear and build self-confidence. Ultimately my vision is help you become the captain of your own life. More to the point, it hopes to make you aware that you already are.

How Do You Hope To Achieve This?

If I were to give a mission statement for this blog it would be as follows:

To help those who suffer from low self-esteem by providing them with a clear framework to overcome their fears and build the confidence needed to take command of their lives.

I have abbreviated this to following tagline: “How To Command Life

In order to achieve this my plan is to break down and explore the following 3 interrelated topics:

1 – How to Navigate Fear (This part of the blog is about navigating turbulence – namely our fear. It will seek to understand our emotional response system – where our fears stem from and what coping strategies/problem solving tools we can use in everyday life and at work. It will also look to challenge our relationships to our emotions.)

2 –How to Command Life (This part of the blog is about generating thrust by building confidence. It will explore how to build better habits/routines in order to achieve our goals but also live a healthier, happier lifestyle. It will also look at how to take greater responsibility for our lives. It will aim to inspire action.) 

3 –How to build a Moral Compass (This part of the blog is about generating lift by serving a greater purpose. It is about building a moral compass to guide you when darkness envelopes. It is about building clearer personal values, love for your family, service for your community and gratitude for your life.)

Longer term I have ambitions to turn each section into e-books/online courses in order to provide a clearer frame work for readers to follow. My plan is to donate any proceeds made toward a mental health charity of my choice and the growth of this blog. 

How Are You Qualified To Give Life Advice?

Tough question but I’m game. Let’s start with the obvious. Because I have one (a life that is – although since I’ve had kids this is up for debate). Anyway, let me give you a quick rundown of that life.

It follows a boy who was led to doubt himself from a young age. As an adolescent he was bullied for years. This led to a deep depression. Despite this he managed to chase his dreams by becoming a commercial airline pilot for one of the world’s best airlines. He also found a partner, fell in love and started a family. More recently he has become a published author. On the horizon he has ambitions to change career into the fields of psychology and philosophy. Subjects he is already passionate about and has been reading up on for years. (Subjects he knows more about than the one in which he already has a degree – History.)

Despite everything I have achieved on paper, I rate overcoming depression as my single biggest achievement. That has been my true Everest in this life. That’s not to say my issues with low self-esteem and anxiety have completely disappeared. That’s not true. It’s simply to say that I’m much further up the mountain than I use to be. To say that I at least have a decent view, and while I might not be at my optimum cruising level yet, I do believe I have something to offer while I continue the climb. 

What Other Credentials Do You Have?

My job as a pilot means I have to navigate fear every time I show up-to work. It’s imperative that I have my head on straight. It means performing under high pressure situations. Every six months we have the proverbial kitchen sink is thrown at us in the simulator. Fail and we our license is invalidated. We also have annual line checks, random spot checks, medicals, recency requirements… the list goes on. 

The job itself is about preparing for the worst and guarding against complacency. We always have to be ready. Thinking about what we would do if we lose an engine, or have a depressurisation, or a medical emergency, etc. We have a saying, prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. That’s as true in life, as it is in my profession.

Ultimately my profession has taught me that being a captain is something you embody. It is a way of life. It is about always staying on top of things. It is about being disciplined and working hard. It is about taking full responsibility for your life. It is about developing a growth mindset with the understanding that you can always improve. It is about facing your demons head on and believing in your ability to preserve in most trying of circumstances. 

That’s what I believe it means to take command of your life. 

What Do You Want From Me?

I want you to help me. I want you to challenge me. I want you to be honest with me, as I promise I will be with you. I want to stand up for what you believe is right especially if I am wrong (and I may well be).

My words often come with a little bite. (I always advise my readers to take what I have to say with a pinch of salt.) I’m not trying to be provocative but I do want you to challenge you. I want you to challenge your own preconceptions. I want you to understand what’s driving your own inner turbulence. Because you are. My words are just words. Ultimately it’s you who gives them power (or not).

I also want you to see that if nothing else, you will always get a man who is completely honest with you. To know I will give you everything with my words. I will be myself, unapologetically so. There will be laughter and tears, honesty and love. I will try to lead with humility and confidence. I will disclose a great deal of my past in the interest of encouraging others to do the same, to have the confidence to be themselves – to know that they are not alone.

I want to make it clear that I write for me as much as you. I want to build towards a better me, a better tomorrow. But I realise I can’t do without your help. Without your feedback, your input. I also realise that the best way to help myself is to help you. I realise the happy medium in life comes from doing something you love in the service of others.

So I’m asking you to join me so we can both learn to take better command of our lives. This journey, if you brave enough to board this flight of mine, will be turbulent as fuck. But I believe the destination – which I’m determined to get us to – will be worth it. However I can’t get there without your help.

Who The Hell Are You? 

I thought long and hard about whether I should disclose my identity on this blog. For a number of reasons, for the time being at least, I’ve decided not to. Chief among them is the very personal nature of the things I want to write about, namely depression and anxiety, and specifically about dealing with those problems in everyday life and at work – which is, sadly, very much a taboo subject in the realm of aviation. 

Of course I understand to have the biggest impact possible, I ought to be courageous and put name next to ink, however this simply isn’t a risk I’m currently willing to take. Like many industries, the mention of problems such as depression and anxiety in aviation, despite the crucial need to talk about them, would be career suicide.

One day, as a promise to you fine readers, I will disclose my identity and put my real name next to writing. In the interim however, so long as piloting pays the bills, I won’t. Should the world of aviation move forward and really start to address the issues of mental health maybe, just maybe, we’ll all be allowed to talk openly about these issues without the fear of losing ones career. Currently, sadly, this is just a dream.

So who am I? Well I’m a commercial airline pilot living in and out of Hong Kong with a particular love for family life, flying aeroplanes, traveling the world, improving the self and writing poorly. For lack of anything better that I can think, you can call me AP2. I hope you enjoy the journey, or better yet, I hope you can help.

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