Fighting For Pilots' Mental Health

As a pilot I have to have confidence in the aircraft I fly. I have to know that it is in good mechanical condition. I have to have confidence that it meets all safety and regulatory guidelines. And I have to have confidence in my abilities to operate the airplane. I have assistance in developing confidence in the condition of the aircraft. I am provided with maintainence reports that show the aircraft is airworthy and meets all guidelines to be operated safely.  Having confidence in myself is not as simple as checking documents though.

I have been thinking about confidence lately. I usually consider myself somewhat of a confident person. Yes, there are times I question myself and my abilities. I think every person should do that from time to time to find ways to improve our skills in anything that we may do. But what has made me think more about confidence was spurred on by a conversation with a young man who works at a McDonalds I frequent near my home. 
This young man would greet me as I came into this McDonalds every time he saw me. He always had a smile on his face and was friendly and fun to see. There was a time I did not see him for a while and was told by others who worked there that he had not shown up for work in over a week. I later heard he was having some difficulties in his life. I was relieved to see him back at work shortly after that. 
I took some time to chat with him one day. I told him that I knew he had it within him to do great things with his life. He looked at me with great surprise and asked me how I knew that. I told him that I simply could tell by talking with him and that I knew it from the first time I met him. Once again, he was surprised and said to me, “Really?”
At this point it was me who was surprised. I realized that he truly did not believe in himself to do great things. It made me wonder how many people there are who have no self confidence. As I mentioned earlier, I have had times of self doubt, but I have always seemed to worked through these times and push on to accomplish what ever it was I wanted to do. 
I know nothing of this young man’s background. I do not know if he had a good home life as a child or if his childhood was difficult. I do know that many people who were reared in abusive homes tend to lack self confidence. However, I can testify that survivors of abusive upbrinings can also go forward with life and be successful in what ever it is they choose to do. 
My heart went out to this young man. It made me wonder what I might be able to do to help him believe in himself. The best answer I came up with for now is simply to be a friend and let him know I believe in his abilities to build his character and become a strong positive person. 
I feel it is important to be good role models for other people. I have discovered that there are people who look up to me. I have never thought of myself as a person that someone else would look up to. Therefore, I would say that many people have others who look up to them and do not know it. This is the exact reason why it is important to be the best person we can be at all times. Yes, everyone is imperfect. But the harder we work to be better at whatever it is we do in life, the better we will become. 
If we can be a good example to someone who looks up to us then we can have a positive impact on another person’s life. Going through life just to improve our own stature or financial situation for our own good is not what this life is all about.  We could have a debate for years about what life is all about. But I believe that simply working to only improve our own status is simply selfish. The willingness to help others is important and in the long run will add to our own happiness.  I have noticed that some of the happiest people I have known are those who are willing to help others.  As we help others our own self confidence grows as well. 
I know it may sound as if I am rambling on at this point. But the conversation I had with this young man left an impression on me. I am still saddened by his lack of belief in himself. It makes me want to reach out to people like him. I hope that he can start to build a trust and belief in himself that will aid him with the daily challenges in his life. 
We should all strive to be mentors to others in this life. Even if there is not an official status of being someone’s mentor we can conduct ourselves in a manner that others could learn from each of us. We all have people we look up to. But I would guess that most of us have people who look up to us as well. 
Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin W. Hughes 

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