Coffee and Enlightenment, Please

IMAGE_Coffee and Enlightenment, Please

I found myself getting a little annoyed. Okay, more than a little.

I could blame it on my lack of coffee, or my lack of enlightenment, but aren’t we all entitled to get frustrated every now and then?

The flight attendants serving the complimentary beverages on Flight 2051 from Zurich to Budapest were not moving at the speed at which I thought the situation called for. My morning cappuccino buzz was wearing off fast – and at the pace they were moving, we’d be touching down before I’d get my next hit of caffeine.

Now, I know I’m a recovering caffeine addict who falls off the wagon almost every morning. Aren’t there more of us out there? Interestingly, though, the passengers around me didn’t seem annoyed at all; they were simply enjoying the flight. Weird, I thought. Perhaps they’d all had coffee in the airport – the only possible explanation for their bizarre behavior.

The more I caught on to what was happening (or wasn’t happening), the slower the staff seemed to move. You know the saying, “A watched pot never boils”? I thought I’d been a smart rat, not buying coffee at the airport due to principle. Are they crazy? 1,200 Hungarian Forints (approx. $4 US Dollars) for a cappuccino. I was not buying into that nonsense. (Of course, in New York on that very same trip, I paid WAY more than that for my Starbucks beverage of choice.)

As I sat there, fixated on the flight attendants moving at tortoise pace, I was reminded of one of my favorite Jerry Maguire movie quotes when Jerry is seated in first class sipping champagne with a beautiful woman while his assistant/love interest, Dorothy (Renee Zellweger), is in cattle class. Dorothy can see what’s going on until the flight attendant closes the curtains that block the “classes”. Dorothy looks forward from the coach cabin and tells her son, “First class, that’s what’s wrong. It used to be a better meal, now it’s a better life.”

That was the case that morning on Flight 2051: the other lucky passengers still had caffeine in their veins!

So, what’s my point?

Most of us live like it’s the “big things” in life that throw us off our game… being fired, having an argument with our spouse, not being able to take the vacation we want, when we want, etc. But if we really look closely, those big things are actually the easiest things to deal with – because we know that they’re there. It’s crystal clear when those things are robbing us of our aliveness and we’re not being present. We know that we’re being taken to the bad neighborhood of our mind – places that we should not go alone.

But have you noticed that it’s the little thoughts – like not getting our coffee fast enough, like being assigned the middle seat, having to stand in line, or having to work late… you get the point – that grab our attention and begin to take us into the bad neighborhood unknowingly?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t react; we’re all human. But what I am saying is that those little things don’t have to color our whole world. It is possible to wait for our coffee AND enjoy the flight. (It wasn’t even good coffee!)

Try to notice all the places in life where the flight attendants are moving too slow. I invite you to be annoyed… and then to let it go.

About the Author:

For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. As the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., lauded by the likes of PR Week and Good Morning America, he sparks "aha" conversations that lead to personal and business success. His PR firm is known for landing clients on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, and other top media outlets. Wasabi Publicity lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world.


  1. Faith November 7, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    As one of the contently caffeinated passengers, I’m reminded that I never know what others are going through in their lives.

    • Drew Gerber November 7, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Yes. Thank you for the reminder, Faith 🙂

  2. Page November 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Acerbic humor… that’s like caffeine in itself! Loved the article and the underlying point. Thanks!

    • Drew Gerber November 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Thanks for reading, Page!

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