Pilot Your Life Decisively for Well-Being and Flourishing

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



I have been a pilot, aviation instructor and FAA Pilot Examiner for over 40 years. Aviation requires a “pilot in command” mindset consistent with the tenets of positive psychology. This paper explains and advocates for this daily empowered, adaptive decision making process used by pilots in aviation as a necessary life skill to eliminate mind wandering and disengagement and optimize human performance consistent with the goals of positive psychology. Exploring the concepts of “pilot-in-command” (decisive control and self-efficacy) and “situational awareness” (alert mental functioning) I will offer techniques and suggestions for developing and deploying these critical skills in everyday life. I will examine the heuristic-based, “fast and frugal” (time and data limited) decision-making used every day in aviation and apply this to life for optimal performance and flourishing for individual lives and organizational effectiveness.


decision-making, situational awareness, pilot in command, self-efficacy, heuristics


Achievement, Well-being/Flourishing




Date Posted: 10 December 2015