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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Overcoming Great Odds

A few days ago I saw the movie "42." It is the story about Jackie Robinson. I have from time to time thought about what Mr. Robinson went through, but never could I fully understand the hatred that he felt from so many people. Watching this movie made me reflect on some of the trials of my own life. Many people think that life is hard, but we all have trials we go through. I am in no way comparing my troubles to the atrocities suffered by Mr. Robinson. However, there is a great lesson to be learned in how Mr. Robinson handled overwhelming situations.

Each of us has our own way of dealing with adversity. Some people stand their ground and fight. Other people may run. Then there are varying degrees of reactions in between. Few people I know have the ability to handle situations the way Mr. Robinson was portrayed in the movie. To do this takes great control and not letting your emotions dictate your actions.

I am reminded of a talk given by a church leader that I heard a few years ago. This man told a story how he started a sales representative job after college. He was assigned to work with a seasoned salesman visiting stores that carried his company's products. The duo had visited several stores and things were going well. Then they went to a store where the owner was extremely rude and treated them with disrespect. Upon leaving the store the senior salesman had a smile on his face and seemed unaffected by the conduct of the store owner. Noticing this the young salesman asked his mentor how he could be so happy after being treated so poorly. The answer was simple. The senior companion said, "I refuse to let others dictate how I feel."

We all have emotions and feelings. There will be times when others are going to do or say things that will step on our feelings leaving us to have a variety of emotions. We cannot control how others treat us. But we can control how we react to these intrusions.

Mr. Robinson was a man of character. Strong character is something that takes time to develop. Going through the trials of life can often times be extremely difficult. If a person fails the trials that are placed before him or her there will certainly be more trials ahead to help improve a person's character.

How we react to difficult times is a choice. Everything we do in life comes from choices that we make. Many people will argue that some circumstances are beyond our control. Yes, there are events that may happen to us that we cannot control. However, how we react to anything is a choice. Often times we think we are making the best choice for the situation. However, our judgement may be clouded by our feelings. Stressful times may need a period of cooling down before reacting. Therein lies the first choice.

Mr. Robinson was faced with a choice when he was being bombarded with racial obscenities from the opposing team and the fans. I am sure that this hatred was taking its toll on him. On the field he did not react. In one scene the hatred was overwhelming. In reaction he left the field and had a private moment of anger. The owner of his team approached him to console him. He was able to gather himself, go back onto the field and put the haters in their place by showing them how well he could hit a ball.

Mr. Robinson made a choice to not react to such hatred in public. He took some time to get his emotions under control. He then with a renewed determination went back onto the field and did what he was so good at.

How many of us when faced with difficult situations will take that time to get our emotions under control? How often do we react purely out of what we are feeling during the heat of the moment? There are going to be so many times in our lives when people will tell us that we cannot or should not do something that is a worthwhile venture. But that should not stop us. I say to the people with the negative comments to go and tell someone who is successful in that area that they cannot do it. Often times the negative people are just jealous.

What made Jackie Robinson such a great man? Was it because he was a great ball player? Was it because he was the first black man in Major League Baseball? That answer to both of those questions is NO! There have been many great ball players who were not great men. There was a whole list of players that the Brooklyn Dodgers were considering to be the first African American to play in the big leagues. What made Mr. Robinson a great man was his choices. What made Jackie Robinson so great was how he chose to react to overwhelming odds.

Each of of has greatness within us. The greatness comes from choosing positive reactions to both positive and negative events in our lives. We each can fly to a higher level than we think we can. We simply have to believe in ourselves. Sometimes we need a push up from someone close to us who truly has our best interests at heart. But we each have the power to rise above the odds.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Monday, April 15, 2013

Childhood Abuse

The abuse of a child is a horrible thing. Surviving childhood abuse affects a person in many different ways. Each survivor develops his or her own defense mechanisms to protect him or her from the pains of the world. A survivor sees the world in a different way than someone who has never been though such atrocities. It is difficult to explain to a person who has not been through such a horrific experience.

As an adult I am not sure what is worse. The memories that have resurfaced about the abuse or when people call my abuser a good man. Both are extremely painful. I have tried to share with people who knew my father what type of person he really was. But all to often I hear from them what a good man he was. I wonder how good of a man they would think he was if he had hit them as many times as he did me. I also wonder what they would think of him if he had called them stupid as many times as he did me.

Raising a family in the sixties a man was judged by one thing. He was judged on how well he provided for his family. That was the sole judgement of a husband, father and provider. Everyone knew my father as a good provider. That was what counted. That made him a good man. The fact that he was an abusive alcoholic meant nothing to the rest of the world. He was just good old Gibby.

I saw a different side of this "good man." I saw the provider like the rest of the world. One positive thing I can say about him is that he was an extremely hard worker. But I saw the man who would come home drunk and yell at the family. I saw a man who never attended the events of his children because he was either too busy working or was at a bar and was too drunk. I saw a man who could not control his temper and was not afraid to use his fists on his children. I saw the man who came home so drunk and angry one night that he got out a shotgun and nearly killed his family. This was the type of man that everyone called a "good man."

I grew up and started to become the man that my father was. I tried to change, but change came too late. I ruined the family that I had started. I was not there early on for my children. I ran from my obligations. Perhaps out of fear for being the same type of father that I had as an example. I have worked hard since then to be a good person. I strive to be the type of man that truly is good. I may fall short some days, but overall I think I am doing OK.

Society has come a long ways in how it views what a good father is today. Perhaps at times society may swing too far the other way when viewing the life of someone who has been abused. Today there are so many people who use their past abuse as an excuse that causes their bad behavior. Prisons are filled with people who claim they did not know any better because they had a rough childhood. There are also defense attorneys who use the history of abuse with their clients as a legal defense to get their clients a lesser charge for what ever crime it is the client may have committed.

Surviving abuse is not easy by any means. But it is not a reason to commit crimes or abuse others. Just as bad behavior can be learned at the hands of an abuser, learning to care about others in a positive manner can be learned as well. One of the things that makes me the person that I am today is that I DO NOT want to be anything like my father. How a survivor lives his or her life is a CHOICE! Everything we do in life, whether it be positive or negative, are choices. Each and everyone of us can make the decision to good or evil.

With this post I am reaching out to two different groups of people. First, I talk to survivors of abuse. Secondly, I attempt to speak to those who have a loved one who is a survivor. Both types of people are in a unique situation. The survivor has an extremely difficult task of trying to explain to someone what it is like to live with such pain that was inflicted upon them. The second group of individuals has to try to understand why a survivor views the world and relationships in a manner that most people may never understand.

Sounds frustrating doesn't it? Yes, it can be very frustrating. But the best way to deal with it is just put your shoulder to the wheel and push forward. Life may appear easy for some. But everyone has trials in life. Some people think that money would make life easier and they would have no problems if they were rich. If that were true people like Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton would not be in the news so much while being arrested for substance abuse.

So what is the answer to living a happy life if it is not money? The answer is simple, but sometimes hard to do. You simply do the best with the hand that is dealt you in life. If you feel you have been dealt a bad hand in life, then stack the cards in your favor. Work hard each day to make the next day better than the day before. For some people that might might mean having more success in their job. For others that might mean just getting out of bed the next morning. But what ever it takes, make tomorrow better than today.

Overcome the things that hold you back. DO NOT LET YOUR ABUSER HAVE CONTROL OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE! Liberate yourself from the control of your abuser. Do not continue to let him or her have control over you. If someone tells you what a good person your abuser is politely tell them how wrong they are. Do not let anyone make you feel like a bad person for what happened to you. No one should feel shame for being a victim.

Many survivors feel they have done something wrong. The only thing wrong you have done in being a survivor is thinking you have done something wrong. The abuser is ALWAYS the bad guy. All survivors are VICTIMS.

Getting to the right frame of mind for a healthy life will not be easy. It will most often take therapy. Do not be ashamed to contact a mental health professional. Once you start looking at life in a positive manner so many things will open up to you. Do not waste your life by drowning in your sorrows. Make some happy memories. Always remember there is only one person who can decide the outcome of your life. YOU

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Blog

In an effort to reach a broader audience as well as write about other areas of aviation I have created a new blog. The address is For those of you who are pilots the web address will make sense.

I have created this new blog for a variety of reasons. I am flying again and doing some fight instruction. I would like to pass on some of the things I have learned with my experience to others. The Prozac Pilot site limits the number of people I can reach. I still will post on this site from time to time, but feel the need to move on and expand my horizons.

I am so grateful of all the positive feedback I have received. I continue to get emails from all over the world. I hope that this will continue. I look forward to meeting new people in aviation. I hope I can pass on the love I have for aviation with anyone who wants the adventure of flight.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Monday, November 19, 2012

Honesty Is The Best Policy

I get emails on a regular basis from people who have been on medications in the past, on meds now or who have had bouts of depression somewhere in their medical history. The wording varies from person to person, but the question is always the same. "Should I not reveal the truth about my depression when going to the FAA Medical Examiner when applying for my FAA Medical?"

My answer is simple. TELL THE TRUTH! Honesty is always the best policy. Some people are worried that if they tell the truth they will not be able to obtain the medical certificate. In some cases this may be true. It is going to vary from case to case depending upon the circumstances. If someone is denied the medical then that is what will have to happen for now. There are just far too many risks in not being honest.

There are a couple of big risks that a person will take by not being honest on the application. First, the application is a federal document. If it is not answered properly there could be huge legal ramifications to face. I do not think anyone wants to go to court facing federal criminal charges. Secondly, there are liability issues that could come to light for not being truthful. Let me give an example of what I am referring to regarding liability issues. Lets say that someone is taking medications that are not authorized by the FAA and does not reveal that on the application. These could be meds that do not affect the person's ability to operate an aircraft. If there was an accident, even if this person is not at fault, the fact that this person was on medications is going to surface. If there was anyone else injured in this accident the surviving family members of the pilot will be facing lawsuits. These liability issues would be the same for any falsification on the application, even if the person was not on meds.

I have gone over legal arguments as to why the form should be filled out honestly, now lets look at other reasons. It is always easier to back up the truth than it is a lie. Anytime someone lies they will have to tell another lie to back up the fist lie if they are caught. Where does it end? Telling the truth is the right thing to do.

Some people would argue that they will not be able to obtain their FAA Medical Certificate if they tell the truth. I say to them, "Then so be it." If you do not get your medical then you do not get your medical.

I know there are many people who have dreamed their entire lives of being a pilot. I am one of those people. I was faced with a very difficult decision in 2008 myself when I went on medications. I could not renew my medical and be grounded or I cold lie on the application. I chose not to fly. Was this a difficult decision? Yes and no. Yes because I knew I would be out of a job. I was a pilot by profession. Losing my medical meant I would be unemployed. Also, I loved flying and I would no longer be able to fly.

On the other hand this was an easy decision for me because it was the right thing to do. My integrity is worth far more to me than any job or flying. I could bear being grounded and unemployed. But it would be unbearable to lose the respect of my wife and others who see me as an honest man.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Location:Farm Rd,Las Vegas,United States

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Farewell To Those Who Are Gone

It has been far too long since I have posted anything on my blog. However, I do not look forward to writing this post today. This is not an easy post to write because I was impressed to do so after hearing about the passing of a young man who took his own life. I did not know this young man. I only noticed the news of his passing due to a Facebook friend of mine posted something on this young man's wall, which showed up in my newsfeed.

Out of curiosity I looked at this young man's Facebook account. His name was Jack-Jack Williams. I am guessing that Jack -Jack might be a nickname given to him by friends or family. Jack Jack and I shared a common interest. We both have a love for the sport of rodeo. He has some pretty good pictures of him riding bulls. That is something I did in my younger days as well.

I am not sure why I feel compelled to write about the passing of Jack Jack. Possibly because of a comment by a young lady who seems to be very close to him. She posted something blaming herself for his death. My heart went out to this young lady. I guess I just want her and others like her who might find themselves in a similar situation that it is never anyone's fault in this type of situation.

Often times we never know why a person commits suicide. But it is never the fault of anyone close to that person. When a person gets to the point that they are willing to take their own life they feel there is no other way to escape what ever it is that is troubling them. Everyone has troubles in their lives. Some people just deal with problems better than others.

Sometimes people who are ready to take their own lives do show behaviors that could give suspicion that something is wrong. However, if you are not trained to know these signs you would not know what the person is planning.

Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. The people who truly suffer are the ones that are left behind after a loved one is gone. Many questions go through the minds of the loved ones. People will question if they had been there more for that person or paid more attention to that person when he or she needed attention. But if someone is in a deep enough state of depression that he or she is ready to end it all, there is nothing that anyone could have done unless they had direct knowledge of the upcoming event. The only way it could be stopped is to have that person committed to the hospital if you knew there was a plan in place.

Even if someone close to you is determined to commit suicide and you get them help, there is no saying that the plans will not be carried out at a later date. Sometimes too it is someone that you would never expect to take their own life. I knew someone I graduated high school with that was one of the most positive people I can remember during school who took his own life a few years ago. Kevin was active in sports. He went to the Iowa state finals wrestling tournament. He went on to college and graduated with honors. He had a family and was successful in his career. Kevin had all the things going in life that many people just dream of. But for some reason he took his own life.

I mourn for the people who knew Jack Jack. I am sad that they will spend time wondering what they could have done to save his life. I wish I could be there to comfort them. I wish I knew the exact words to tell them that it is NOT their fault.

The best thing I can tell those close to Jack Jack at this time is to remember his life and honor his memory with your love. Talk to each other of fun times you shared with him. Talk about fond memories that you cherish. Any attempt to blame yourselves will only make this time more difficult for you. But I also plead with you to not handle your pain alone. Reach out and get professional help. I know in the rodeo world we use terms like "cowboy up" or "be tough." But sometimes to follow those old cowboy adages also means knowing when to get help.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who loved Jack Jack Williams. I hope you can find peace in your hearts soon after this tragic event. Remember him. Honor him. And keep him in your heart always. My faith teaches me that you will have the opportunity to see him again in the next life. But please just do not try to rush that reunion.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Friday, May 11, 2012

Attitude Is Everything

I have never been one to contemplate if I am a glass half full or empty kind of person. I just always thought that was kind of a silly analogy. However, I do believe that the proper attitude is important in everything that a person does each day.

I remember when I was flying charter and waiting for passengers at various FBO's around the country and hearing some pilots do nothing but complain about their jobs. I knew the companies they worked for and had talked with many other pilots who loved these companies. However, there will always be people who do nothing but complain no matter how good they have things. I have often wondered what makes people complain so much and for very little reason.

I started to think of attitudes after reading my scriptures the other day. Even if you are not religious you can see how important attitude is from what I am about to share.

After Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt he sent scouts ahead to the promised land. The scouts returned and reported a land that flowed with "milk and honey." However, all but one of the scouts, Caleb, complained about other things that were found in the land they saw. Caleb looked at things with "another spirit" and claimed that these obstacles could be easily overcome. The others continued to complain. The Lord was so disappointed with their complaints after all he had done for them that he did not allow them to enter the promised land. The Israelites were allowed to enter this bountiful land only after all of those with Caleb and that generation had passed away.

This instance makes me think about when we complain. How much do we annoy the people around us with our complaints? Do we irritate others so much that are ready to ban us from their lives? What if two people with a propensity to complain we're married to each other, what type of relationship would that be?

I think that most people see where I am going with this. Complaining is counterproductive. Instead of looking for the bad in all that we do it would be much better to look for the good things in life. If you have a job that has many problems stop pointing out the problems and look for solutions to improve the situation.

The next time you see something you do not like about your life, think about what you do like. If you still see things in a negative light, think about what you can do to change or improve the situation. Life is filled with choices. It is entirely up to you whether or not you choose to be positive or sit back, complain and do nothing.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Creates Lift?

Whether you are certificated pilot, student pilot or an aviation enthusiast you have all thought of the question regarding what creates lift. Lift is what allows an airplane to fly. Without lift even the lightest of airplanes would be grounded. Therefore, all aviators must know what factors go into the causation of lift.
I would like to take a spin the the topic of lift today. Not everyone who reads my words are aviators. But we all need lift in our lives. Without lift in our lives we metaphorically remain on the ground.
Everyone I know has the desire to better themselves. Even someone with the deepest depression or a person who seems to have little to no motivation wants to get ahead in life. Lift in life is not being rich or famous. Even some of the most rich and famous people have not found their lift in life.
Lift in life is what makes us happy. Lift in life is what brings us feelings of contentment and peace. Lift in life are the things that bring simplistic joy. I think we all need to reevaluate our lives and decide what is our lift in life.
All to often we see people whose lives are in shambles because they have the wrong idea of what lift is. If you cannot understand the simple aerodynamics of life you cannot expect to fly. If you try to climb without knowing the proper procedure or speeds to use you then run the risk of stalling. Recovering from a stall in an airplane can be much easier than recovering from a stall in life. By the time a student pilot is taught stall recovery in an airplane he or she has already learned the fundamentals that go into what causes an airplane to stall and how to recover from that stall.
Very few people have been taught the proper procedures for recovering from a life stall. It would be so much easier to find lift in life if we could just sit down with an instructor and learn the proper procedures. However, most of us learn from the school of trial and error. Sometimes using this method we are able to fly strait and level without incident, but all to often many people crash and burn.
The objective of finding the lift of life though should not be to simply fly strait and level. If we find the proper lift we can soar to great heights. So then what is it that causes such a great lifting power in life that we can rise so far above the drudgery of daily life?
Using the proper procedure is the key to any good flight. Let's start with the pre-taxi checklist.
1. Get out of bed with the proper attitude.
2. Look forward to the flight (day)
3. Check to see that you have an appropriate amount of fuel for the flight.
Number three could actually go into a variety of things. Did you eat a proper breakfast? Did you exercise? If you are religious, did you say your prayers? I think you get the idea.
4. Do you have your clearance from air traffic control? In other words, do you have a flight plan for the day that you have thought out and cleared with yourself of whoever else may be involved that plan?
Now lets skip right to the takeoff checklist.
1. Power full forward. Do you have enough power or energy for the flight today? In other words, leave the doubts behind. If it is a difficult task in front of you go at it with full power and do not hold back.
2. Airspeed alive. Notice when you are rolling down that runway of life in a positive manner and give yourself credit for the positive things you have accomplished.
3. 70 knots cross check. Double check the things you are doing and that you are on path for success.
4. V1 (speed at which if you are committed to taking off even if something goes wrong). Now you are committed to flight. No matter if anything goes wrong you are still going to takeoff. If any problems arise you will simply handle them in the air.
5. Rotate. Now we add the back pressure and we are flying.
Lift in life can be simple. We just need to know what to put on our checklist for life. I think there needs to be some very simple items to do on this metaphorical checklist. Below I have listed some things that should be on everyone's checklist.
1. Tell those close to you that you love them.
2. Smile as you pass strangers throughout the day.
3. Go out of your way to be nice to those you know and to some you do not know.
4. Treat others with respect and kindness.
5. Be kind to yourself.
7. Forgive those who have wronged you. Holding a grudge only hurts the one who holds the animosity towards the other. In most cases the other person has forgotten all about what he or she has done to wrong you to begin with.
Those are some simple, well mostly simple, things that we can do to help generate lift in life and be on our way to soaring to new heights. I hope you had enjoyed the post for today.
Until next time,
Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot