The Closest Exit May Be Behind You (2.0)

The combination of spending yesterday on an airplane and various business…. let’s call them “conundrums” brought to mind a post I wrote four years ago entitled “The Closest Exit May be Behind You.”

With six hours of plane time on my schedule, I was physically and mentally trapped long enough to go back and reread what I’d written and—finding it shockingly timely—thought I’d send it along again on the off-chance it might be a helpful reminder to you as well:

“Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time on airplanes.

On my last flight, I was struck by the phrase in the safety announcement, ‘Bear in mind that the closest exit may be behind you.’

Now I don’t generally wax philosophical, but this struck me as a directive that might serve many of us off the plane as well as on.

What do I mean by this?

I’m talking about those moments when you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall with a difficult person or situation. You’ve tried persistence, you’ve tried humor, you’ve tried candor; you’ve been easygoing, you’ve been wily, you’ve even taken a crack at tough love….

All of which has netted you nothing.

It is in these moments that I recommend taking a break from trying to move the situation or the conversation forward. To consider that, in fact, you might be better served by stepping away for an hour, a day, a month, a year and turning your energy toward a person or a pursuit that you hadn’t considered because it wasn’t in your crosshairs but in your peripheral vision.

Because, in fact, the closest exit—the route to freedom—may well be behind you.” 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like “A (Possibly) New Take on ‘Let it Go’”.