Recently, one of my Point Taken team members was on a flight and agreed to change her seat (a desirable aisle!) so a family had the opportunity to sit together. The child in question was an older teen, so the ‘need’ was not as great, but my colleague quite cheerfully agreed to be reseated.

The flight attendants on board were so grateful that a passenger helped make their lives easier by agreeing to solve their problem that they actually UPGRADED my colleague to first class! So now, everyone wins! But let’s look a little closer at the situation to see what lessons we can learn.

First of all, we know that boarding a plane can bring out the worst in humankind – we are unhappy, stressed, stuck without much control over our own destiny, and we take it out on those around us. And this is particularly true when it comes to flight attendants, who have to shoulder the burden of being responsible for every decision an airline made that lead a passenger to be unhappy on the plane. These flight attendants didn’t design the plane without enough legroom, or institute the bag charges – but they will be held accountable by passengers.

When faced with these kinds of situations, it always pays to be kind and helpful, as you can change the experience for yourself and for others -for the better. So, whenever you feel that pent-up anxiety, recognize those around you may be experiencing their own ‘unhappy story’ at the same time.

Acting to help others without thought to your own gain actually puts you in a better position to deserve (and maybe even receive) good things. The commonly quoted mantra that you get back from the world what you send into it is actually true, and this was a great example of the karma circle working for the good. Now it won’t always work out exactly even, or at the exact time, but averages will win out.

All people have some power in the world, and they can choose to use it for your benefit or they can withhold it. If you are using your own power to make the world a better, happier place for others, I guarantee your own experience will be happier too.

And since this summer will be a particularly trying time to fly, now is a good time to practice the skill of spreading good cheer.