10 Ways to Improve Traveling in Coach

Flight over Hawaii - Make people happier.
10 Ways to Improve Travel in Coach that Could Make People Happier

I recently read Claudia Altucher’s Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century (affiliate)
which got me thinking about all sorts of things. If you haven’t heard of or read it yet, you really should consider getting it from the library or downloading it on Kindle for $.99. The whole premise of the book is to come up with a 10 ideas about a whole bunch of different things as a way to get amped up and thinking outside the box.

One of the exercises in the book is to come up with 10 ways the airline industry could improve traveling in coach class seats that would make people happier. I’ve been fortunate to have flown around the country (and the world) a fair amount, so here are my ideas. Let me know what you think in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.

1 – Give everyone a chocolate chip cookie as they board the plane (or right before the safety messages).
How great would this be?! Everybody loves a little treat now and then and this would certainly be a great way to cheer up those grumpy (and hungry) travelers. Be careful to offer gluten-free and nut free options for those with allergies.

2 – Free first drink for all passengers age 21 and over.
Yes! This one makes me want to sing Drunk On A Plane (affiliate) by Dierks Bentley. No better way to relax than with a free drink on a long flight.

3 – Free WiFi.
Duh. Don’t you want your passengers tweeting and facebooking about how great you are as an airline while mid-flight?

4 – Quick and fun group trivia or gambling games.
Southwest Airlines used to do this every time I flew to Las Vegas. Everyone who wanted to play would put a dollar in a hat or something and get a raffle ticket. They’d ring their flight attendant button to answer to win. Or maybe no money is exchanged, just the first correct answer gets another free drink or meal or something. I’m sure someone could come up with a fun way to do a group game like that. Make flying fun again!

5 – USB power in every seat.
I think most Alaska Airline flights already do this. Gotta keep my gadgets charged up so I can pay a ridiculous amount of money to watch the latest movies and tv shows on that “free” wi-fi we’re getting.

6 – Designate a quiet or loud area in certain areas so passengers can either read/sleep or be loud and obnoxious if they want.
I realize this one is a stretch, but I thought it would be cool in case there are a bunch of people who want to talk or play games or something.

7 – Raffle for free food or drinks or A FREE FLIGHT VOUCHER!!!
I admit, this one is kind of related to number 4, but how cool awesome would it be to actually win a free flight just for flying. People love free stuff. Maybe you only do one of these a day in the entire fleet, but still, a great way to build rapport with your customers. And a great way to build loyalty as an airline that gives back to their passengers.

8 – Magazine exchange.
I always see the flight attendants carrying armfuls of unwanted magazines that usually just end up in recycling. Midway through every 1 hr+ flight, make an announcement that the magazine exchange has begun and allow people to donate and sift through what everyone else on the flight already finished reading. This one wouldn’t cost anything and would be pretty easy to implement. Just use an old food or soda box to carry everything around in or make people go to the back of the plane to find what they want.

9 – Book exchange.
Same as number 8, but with books. Might get heavy, so be careful when lifting!

10 – Game consoles in the back of the headrest monitors to play with other passengers.
Remember how some planes back in the day used to have the actual phone in the back of the middle seat headrest? I was thinking of something like that, but with a tv and armrest control unit with an internal network that only allowed you to play certain games with other passengers. Or you could go all out and pop for the full size unit with internet connected gaming to anyone in the world on certain gaming networks. Make it easy and start with board games or go full speed with RPGs or other more graphics intense games.

If anyone from the airline industry reads this, please know my thoughts are coming from a place of wanting to help make your product more enjoyable. I have a sales and marketing background and want you to offer a few low cost and high cost tips for making the average Joe’s experience a little more enjoyable. Most airline seats are probably coach and the competition is fierce, so here’s a few tips you hopefully enjoyed reading and could possibly implement as a way to one-up the competition.

And for any passengers out there that ever take any airline survey that ask “how can we serve you better?” – remember some of these ideas and maybe we’ll meet on a flight with one of these great new benefits.

Here’s to your flying enjoyment!

Go Forth!

You Deserve to Be Happy

Happy New Year
Happy new year! You deserve to be Happy.

Happy New Year! It’s that time again – where we hope and dream and think about all the ways we wish we and the world around us were better. Or fitter. Or different. Or…anything other than what we are right now. Why can’t we just be happy?

Why are we so unhappy with ourselves? Why do we always want something to be different? I think a healthy sense of wanting to be improved is important and necessary for personal satisfaction, but to just throw your hands up in disgust with your life as it is now is absurd.

I still remember the feeling of when I first realized that I deserve to be happy and I deserve the people and the things around me. (It wasn’t that long ago…maybe a year or so after many months of thoughtful reflection and prayer) I also still remember the feeling of walking around everyday not believing that I deserved everything that I had in my life – both the good and the bad. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that realization that I deserve to be happy. I’m not a vain person, but with so many people with so much less than I have and so many stories of suffering I felt uncomfortable with the blessings I have. In response, I try to live a life of gratitude and service to others in any way that I can. I want to be happy.

Over the last few years, I’ve tried very hard to think critically about living a “minimalist” lifestyle and have actively tried to pursue such a way of living. Now some of you may scoff at that, but please read on and hear me out. To me, minimalism is not about trying to be cool and stand out from everyone else to show off how great you are because you don’t have any possessions and live in a tiny house with everything organized perfectly in its own little space (although I do love that idea). Quite the contrary actually, minimalism is the act and process of decluttering your life from all the extraneous so that you can truly cherish whatever is left – both possessions and relationships. If your way of being a minimalist is living in a tiny house, go for it! You deserve to be happy.

Minimalism is the act and process of valuing the most important things in life and eliminating everything else. We all need some material possessions to survive, especially clothing and housing. But after those and a maybe a few other small items, not much else is necessary to survive. Society will tell you otherwise, but look inward and your soul will tell you the truth. Sure there are chemical reactions that happen inside the body that trick you into thinking you need all that stuff, but once your shopping hormones settle down, something inside tells you otherwise. You’re still not happy.

The same goes for relationships. It’s very easy to get tricked into thinking that because we’re “friends” on social media, that means we’re actually friends in real life. The nature of online conversations have been well documented as being only surface level and lacking genuine interaction. At least as far as my own social feed goes, most of what I see are game scores (both sports and video variety), fashion (don’t judge), internet memes and pictures of people posing in ways they would never do in real life (maybe I don’t really know them after all…case in point. what?). Sure you might know someone, maybe you even met once before, or maybe you’re just stalking them like any celebrity, ever. Either way, most of the people on your friends list you probably don’t have a deep friendship with and likely never will. You’re still not happy.

So why are we unhappy? I have no idea. It might be all the stuff getting in your way. It might be a few toxic relationships weighing heavy on your soul. It might be that you have no true relationships and everything you live is on the internet. Sure there is a lot of pain and suffering both personally and globally to make us so, but what else?

Ultimately, we have the freedom to choose our own thinking and choose our own happiness. And that’s what I’ve learned and hope to pass on – that happiness is a choice. You have to choose to seek that which will make you happy – and the answer usually isn’t easy to accept.

Will minimalism make you happy? Maybe. Hopefully it might lead you to think critically for yourself about the things you possess and what really matters and what doesn’t.

Getting in touch with the Creator and Spirit will help, and those answers don’t come in our time.

Prayer.

Meditation.

Either way, I think we all deserve to be happy. We all deserve to have friends. And we all deserve to be unhappy at times just so we can appreciate the happy feelings and empathize with those we find who aren’t happy.

Happy new year. Here’s to your happiness journey in 2016.

Why Do You Have to be a Hippie to Love the Environment?

natural hot spring pool
Pool of water from a natural hot spring in Olympic National Park

A few months ago my wife and I took a short weekend trip to get away from it all and relax after a couple pretty hard weeks at work. We happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where the weather is pretty mild and the geography as varied as any region of the US. From the Pacific coast to the rain forest of Forks, WA to the deserts of Eastern Washington and pretty much everything in between, we’ve got it all.

Including a large population of environmentalists apparently.

The weekend we decided to get away from it all was the very same weekend this happened. You can also read more about a similar incident here. (Basically these articles are about a few college students chained themselves to the anchor chains of a large exploratory oil drilling ship in order to prevent it from drilling in the Arctic this summer.)

Back in the 70’s the people who did this kind of stuff were probably referred to as “hippies.” You know, the young and young-at-heart that would sing about saving the forest, living off the land, recycling and sharing everything they could? In our modern era of political correctness, “hippie” probably isn’t the best description of someone who loves the environment, maybe the term “environmentalist” is more appropriate.

Now I don’t have anything against hippies or environmentalists, so please don’t take my tone as critical. In fact I try to uphold many of the same values one might consider such a person to maintain. I do my best at recycling at both work and home, reducing my carbon emissions by taking public transit wherever possible, using as few resources as possible at home like turning off the water when brushing my teeth and various other small deeds.

Indeed these actions are small and at the very foundation of what an aspiring environmentalist might start out doing; but that’s not where it ends. Maybe what really makes someone an “environmentalist” is political action.

Politics is what really separates “us” and “them” don’t you think? Why do we let that happen? Why do you have to be a hippie to love the environment? Why do we try to separate ourselves from people who love the environment by calling them “hippies”? Perhaps some like the term and embrace all that it represents (perhaps even apathy at times of certain types of intoxication?). Perhaps some take offense to the word and prefer a different term, or none, altogether.

Either way, I’ll ask again – why can’t you just love the environment and be one of “us”? Why don’t we try to listen to what our fellow citizens are saying. Must someone actually chain themselves to an oil rig in order to be heard? Of course, that is an extreme political action, but it sure got a message across…but was it the right message?

I’m convinced that the earth is a living thing and it’s trying to tell us something if only we’ll listen. Need a little help understanding what I mean? Take a look the wildfires burning across the country, especially in Washington. The President of the United States declared a state of emergency here where “490,000” acres have burned or are burning. How about the earthquakes we’ve seen over the last few years and warnings we’ve read about? Heck, there’s even a movie about the San Andreas
fault! (really good movie by the way…you should definitely go see it in the theatre or buy it on Amazon soon through my affiliate link – thanks for the support!)

Of course I could go on and on with examples of how I think the earth is telling us that it’s alive, so I’ll leave you with one last example for now – natural hot springs. I had the opportunity recently to visit some natural hot springs and if you ever really want to experience the beauty of nature, visit a natural hot spring. For some reason and I don’t know why, sitting in the middle of a stream of hot water coming out of a mountain was the most surreal experience in nature I’ve ever had.

You don’t have to be a hippie to love the environment. You just have to have enough mental capacity and maturity to think about more than just yourself.

Here’s a good rule, let’s just start with this – Do more good than harm.

Go Forth!

natural hot springs
Natural hot springs in Olympic National Park

The Wheel of Life

Zig Ziglar's Wheel of Life
Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. A roadmap for success in life.

With so much “self-help” and “personal development” information out there, it’s no wonder most of us are left thinking there’s something wrong with us.

Everything we read, everything we watch and everything we hear is telling us that we’re not good enough…at anything. Well, let me tell you, there’s nothing “wrong” with you no matter how imperfect you may seem. As the saying goes, “none of us is perfect,” and that’s quite alright with me.

I believe that it’s our unique traits we should focus on and share with one another as special gifts to the world. Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely aspects of our lives we should be constantly trying to improve upon and adapting and evolving and changing overall; it’s the balance of the pursuit of these changes and adaptations be kept in check.

One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie, The Shawshank Redemption(affiliate). “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin.” Basically the message is that you’re doing one or the other; there is no middle ground. If you’re not growing, learning or improving some if not most aspects of your life, you’re missing out on what it means to be human. You’re dying. If not outside, then definitely inside. Life is meant to be lived and there are so many wonderful, beautiful things in the world to experience that unless you’ve got an open mind and open heart, you’ll miss out on most of that and end up shriveled, dehyrdated and malnourished.

Certainly these maladies in a physical sense are extreme and provoke intense imagery, but when used to describe a person’s soul the imagery are even more devastating. So all this talk about living and dying, improving or shrinking brings me to the point of this post, and in a way, the point of this blog in its entirety. Why reinvent the wheel when it already exists?

Enter – The Wheel of Life. Originally created by Zig Ziglar, it’s not the solution to your problems in and of itself, but certainly an excellent outline for organizing your life. The 7 spokes of the Wheel of Life are:

-Family
-Spiritual
-Personal
-Social
-Intellectual
-Career
-Physical

When thoughtfully considered, each is just as important as the other and none is more valuable than any other. At different points in your day, week, month or year some areas will seem more daunting or important and require more attention, however you must not lose sight of the big picture. Each spoke must be of equal importance in order to live a fulfilling, satisfying life. In the next few posts I’ll go over what I believe these spokes on the Wheel of Life mean and how you can structure goals for self improvement around each one of these values.

In the meantime, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter for exclusive content. Thanks for being here!

Go Forth!

The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield's book: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield’s book: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

“Do You:
-Dream about writing the Great American Novel?
-Regret not finishing your paintings, poems or screenplays?
-Want to start a business or charity?
-Wish you could start dieting or exercising today?
-Hope to run a marathon someday?”

What a list of questions to put on the back flag of a book! Did you answer yes to any of those questions? If you did, you need to read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. This is without a doubt one of the best books on personal development I’ve ever read. And to expand on what “personal” development means, that is spiritual, physical, mental and self-development in every form…whatever makes you better and more of that which you already are.

If you’ve ever struggled with something you know you should be doing or procrastinated at whatever it is that you feel like is calling you, that feeling that holds you back is what Pressfield calls “the resistance.”

The resistance holds you back, it wants you to fail, it wants you to not be all you can be or do all you can do or sell all you can sell. The resistance doesn’t care who you are or what you want to do, it just wants to keep you from doing and wants you to go down hard.

The War of Art is a book that helps bind you to the strength you need to fight through the resistance and move ahead. It helps give you the perspective you need to understand that you can overcome whatever it is that is holding you back.

I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art because buried in its pages are insights I’ve personally never encountered before. It’s one of those books you should buy to keep on your desk at work or at least on a bookshelf that you’ll regularly look at and be reminded of your inner strength. This is a book I plan on reading at least annually if not more regularly than that.

If you create, you know the struggle that work can bring. Whether it’s a business plan, painting, a piece of music, a proposal, or difficult conversation with someone else, whatever it is, you undoubtedly know what the resistance is, even if you didn’t have a name for it before.

Do what’s difficult. Fight the resistance and do what matters. Buy Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and support Bill’s Lifestyle Blog at no additional cost to you. I appreciate you reading…and please subscribe to my newsletter for unique and inspiring content not found on the blog.

If you’re interested in further reading on this topic, I wrote about this subject nearly two and a half years ago on my sports business blog – a post titled, Do What’s Difficult.

All of the Amazon links on this page are affiliate links, which means that I’ll make a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you. Your support is very much appreciated – thank you so much!