Years ago, while working at an aircraft manufacturing facility, an issue came up with one of the latest produced/finished aircraft. Upon fueling it and performing an engine run according to the checklist, an error occurred with the fuel system. After further diagnoses that required defueling the wing and removing it from the fuselage, the lead tech on the repair team made an interesting discovery; apparently, while the fuel cells were being constructed, someone inadvertently left a soda can in the cell. It was tucked in between the chambers. When the aircraft was fueled, so was the can, clogging the hole between cells, reducing fuel flow. Luckily, the Foreign Object Debris/Damage (FOD) was discovered before the aircraft ever left the apron.

In life, there are many “smoking guns”, that, like the soda can, are not caught. There are aids such as a maintenance/pilot’s checklist, aircraft warning indicators, or performance reviews, which help you reach your max potential. If ignored, something usually goes awry. Self-diagnosis may be as simple as correcting life choices, or it may require disassembling your work habits to see where the indicator light is flashing so that you can make the appropriate adjustments. Finding the FOD in your life is a matter of looking diligently for the smoking gun. Usually, there is a catalysis to poor performance, or there be many; it depends on how often you do a self-evaluation.

There are occasions when you lack the expertise or knowledge to troubleshoot issues. Finding a person with a different perspective can help in redefining goals. The smoking gun, in this case, usually aligns itself with misguided priorities and lack of satisfaction as the result of those choices. Neglecting small aspects in your life can lead to depression. It may cause you to develop a negative attitude to your job, your fellow employees, or home life.

Here are three pieces of FOD that may keep you from getting off the apron:

  • Stress and depression. According to a report, of a study of a group of individuals studied with stress and depression, 48% are more likely to expire due to cardiac arrest. Yet, there are easy ways to help you remove stress so that you can b!~more in your life. Here are a few ideas:
    • Get better sleep. A sound period of rest allows the brain to release stagnate problems, giving you a fresh perspective.
    • Exercise. There are more than enough books that provide information on the benefits of cardio exercise. It is as simple as getting off your “tarmac” and doing it. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that “…adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week OR engage in 20-minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week”.
    • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). This therapy uses communication to work through problems. It is a means to help people remove negative thoughts and focus on positive aspects of their life.
  • Selfishness in relationships. Diane Coutu, of the Harvard Business Review, reported in December of 2007, selfishness is a relationship killer that stifles self-growth. Coutu suggested that we use a softer method of dealing with co-workers and employers, simply by say “yes” more often. Although she acknowledges that, “Individuals in thriving relationships embrace conflict over personality differences as a way to work them through [issues]”.
  • Ignorance is bliss. This phrase is detrimental to the personal growth of the individual and the community in which they interact with each day. Education can reduce the FOD that hinders a person from growing professionally, resulting in a better income for the family and greater work satisfaction. Education of any type stimulates the mind and produces ideas that can be enhanced to improve the quality of life.

The smoking gun of FOD, although small like the soda can, can cause calamities in the long run. Reducing obstructions and debris makes it possible to enjoy life and get you off the apron and into the air.

b!~more (in) life