Fluid Flight

I’ve been playing with small remote-controlled flying-things lately. These are indoor-caliber devices with mini propellers that are relatively safe to crash. It’s a fun hobby. So fun in fact, that I’m even watching videos about larger drones and actual helicopters and regular full-sized airplanes. I guess I’m a bit obsessed by flight right now. But so what, what’s my point?

What’s the difference between the first day you fly a tiny helicopter and the seventh day? It flys a lot smoother, it’s more nimble. Why? Because you’re lighter on the controls. Instead of hard jerks to the limits of the lever, it’s a slight and delicate movement to the left. Gentle and easy-does-it becomes easier to do. You’re no longer over-correcting and sending the aircraft in every direction.

Essentially, you stop being overly cautious and just fly. Fear is what makes you grip the controls too tightly, not allowing for nuance. THIS WAY! NO! THAT WAY! AHH! IT’S GONNA CRASH!! But after you practice a bit and crash a few times, you start to loosen up. So on day-one you’re too tense and on day-seven you’re more relaxed — that’s the significant difference that improves your overall piloting performance.

On day-one, you’re over-thinking, trying to mentally move the controls this way and that. But thought-out movement is too slow and clumsy. Whereas on day-seven, your hands know what to do, they effortlessly move the craft away from the walls with automatic reactions. Or at least until you realize how well you’re doing, and start analyzing the action. Once you begin over-thinking again, your reactions slowdown. CRASH!!

Doing something well, is the act of getting out of your own way. What that means is: allowing the body to do its thing while not allowing the consciousness to “help”. It’s a dance — you can’t mentally move in a graceful way, your body has to be unencumbered by conscious interference. What you, the consciousness, needs to repeatedly remind yourself is this: “Shhh! The body is performing, please be respectful and remain quiet. Simply watch and enjoy the show.”