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Newsletter of the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter
October/November 2004

The Last Row of the Plane
By Howard Miller

Last week I was returning from my New York vacation. On the return flight I was assigned seat 34D, which, as it turns out, was in the last row of the plane. As I sat down I got a little sad as I remembered when I use to fly more often and was in the front section of the plane. In just a few years I went from a steady paycheck and the frequent flier section of the plane, to the up and down income generated from my (growing!) business, to the last row of the plane!

However, instead of going deeper into negative thoughts, I practiced what I preach to my clients and let these thoughts go. What is to be is to be, and I should see the opportunity instead of the negativity.

As it turned out, after the plane filled up, I had all three seats to myself. I was able to stretch out and enjoy my music, read a book and write in my journal, with lots of room and privacy. I was able to reflect on the great week I had in Manhattan with my parents and friends, the unexpected trip to my cousins at their beautiful house on the lake, and all the Broadway shows I had seen.

When the plane landed I had at least five more minutes on the plane than most people. During that time I was able to check my messages and use the facilities located at the rear of the plane, so that when I got off the plane I walked right from the plane to the sky train to the BART station (which showed up in under five minutes).

By being present to the opportunities of the moment and not going to what could be better I was able to:

So when something is not going the way you like, ask yourself: what is going right? You'll see how much is going your way!

Howard Miller has been training, consulting and coaching for over 15 years. In his extensive work with corporate and individual clients, he brings about in people the ability to supply capability for action. Howard firmly believes that if people were more accountable to themselves, they would have more self-respect, which ultimately leads to a better world. Howard Miller is founder of Howard Miller Consulting at

Copyright © 2004 by the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter ( This article may be reprinted in another STC publication under the provisions of the chapter's copyright policy.

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