The Bulb

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On December 29, 1972 Eastern Airlines flight 401 was headed for Miami.

As the plane was trying to land the crew noticed that the indicator light which tells the crew if the landing gear is down failed to come on. Obviously the plane couldn’t land safely without the landing gear, so the decision was made to not land the plane, but to remain airborne until the crew could find out what was happening. The crew tried diligently to figure out why the landing gear wasn’t down. What they found was that the landing gear had been down, but the indicator light had burnt out.

As the crew attempted to change the bulb they ran into multiple problems, and with every setback came more and more crew members to lend a “helping hand”. It became such a setback that the pilot set the auto-pilot controls and tried to help change the small bulb.

And while the crew tore into the process of changing the faulty light bulb, flight 401 tore into the Everglades killing 101 people, over half the occupants.

The tragedy is none of them had to die.

While the crew turned their attention to the non-functioning bulb, no one realized that the auto-pilot function was not working. Even when the low altitude buzzer went off, no one paid attention because they were all focused on a tiny bulb.

Every person who could’ve prevented this tragedy lost focus of the main object of the flight; landing safely in Miami. Instead, 101 people died because the crew decided to focus on a light bulb.

What are you focused on right now? Andy Stanley says to never do something that someone else can do. Instead, do the things that only you can do. Only you can parent your children, nurture your marriage, improve your grades or manage your health. But lots of people can watch Game of Thrones, check Facebook or watch YouTube. What are you doing? Is it the thing that matters? Are you spending your energy and precious time on the important things in life?

Or are you focused on a bulb?

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