Sometimes It’s Not Lion Air’s Fault

Due to the weather. Due to no proper resources. Due to ‘this and that.’

Delays are ass in the pain, seriously. Even in its metaphorical sense, they drive you, and mostly everyone around you, nuts and sometimes leave you high & dry in the nightmare of your obsession to making things happen on time. I do not know why, and how, such a modern form of frustration was first driven by obsessive tales we like to tell ourselves repeatedly that we will deliver no matter what. While this is true to a certain degree, some of them do not make sense and are far divorced from reality or too close to the line of perfection. We trick our mind as if things were under control, but what happens when they’re not?

So I had my first-world problem recently. I was supposed to be in Jakarta yesterday afternoon and submit my final project for two classes (this is my last semester studying before internship and finally be able to get the fuck out of school and do real things). However, mother nature seemed to disagree with me on this as 4,000 flights along the east coast of the US were cancelled. The crazy snowstorm fucked us all up. My problem began with Jetblue flight that got cancelled last minute in the middle of -20’C snowstorm that froze my balls off at 4am. That means there’s no way I could reach JFK from where I was to make my connection to the hot city of Jakarta. That means hundreds of thousands of other passengers had a bad luck like me and struggled to find what the alternatives could be. After speaking and mumbling for about 2.5hrs with a CS on the phone who are mostly based in Arizona and I was convinced this lady we got to speak to had no idea what snowstorm meant to people who live in snowy area. Long story short, the earliest flight they could put me on was 5 days later. 5 days, ladies and gents. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get stranded in the beautiful upstate New York with family, but the pressure I get from not being able to meet people I was supposed to meet (after postponing our schedule twice), and the horror of having to pay more to retake those classes I failed despite my force majeure circumstances, and that the fact it’d delay my graduation just scared me a little. Work-wise, I’m good, always connected to the world of internet to make progress with my teams. But overall, I’m still very lucky to have the help I needed.

I’ve been put in the same position for a hundred times – stuck in Philly airport for 10hrs, flights getting cancelled or circling above the clouds 6 more hours because the airplane couldn’t land into a small island in East Indonesia- and I’ve always been the one that advocated this ‘pls don’t panic’ style to everyone around me. Until I’m the one that gets affected the most by it.

If there’s anything I could learn from what happened to me, it would be to for me to have a bigger heart, and never get tired of it. I’ve also learned from a lot of leaders I admire that they do delay things too. People who have the experience leading a group of people usually have the right reasons to delay things, even to terminate the whole thing at the very end. I used to firmly believe that it is the lack of focus and incompetence that plays the key role in the creation of this habit. And in the world of free speech, it’s easy to get irritated from the outside and voluntarily judge the capacity of those in charge, but things sometimes do go beyond us, doesn’t matter how hard we try to drive the spaceship in this free galaxy. There’s always that one thing you did not see coming.

Like a thousand other great people before me and you, I still think meeting the deadline is everything. I did get upset for a few hours until I found a way back to my normal happy mode (I cooked, drank, listened to piano and galau music, read a lot, played board games, skied). At this point of my life, I think hard to myself, being a jerk who pretends I know everything about my business or how to put things to work is no longer the kind of person I want to grow to be. What I need to be better at is to make every compromise where it’s needed and focus on how to move forward by taking care only of the things that matter, not everything.

Sometimes you’re not the person who gets to navigate the entire ship. There are other hands in control that you need to trust. I believe looking inward to myself when things do not go as planned helps me to see the big picture better and help me remove the noise in the chaos. And in the world where change is truly the only constant, it takes a big enough heart to accept whatever change might be and continue to be the best person you can be regardless of the hardship you may have to endure. Just play it cool.

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