Hazardous Attitudes Produce Hazardous Decisions
A Macho attitude is the fourth hazardous attitude of “5 Bad Attitudes” listed in the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (p. 26). Although each attitude can result in a bad decision, they are also intertwined. A Macho pilot has to be anti-authority to break the rules and buzz his girlfriend’s house. He feels invincible, because he doesn’t think his engine will die, leaving him with nowhere to land. He does all this on an impulse, because his friends are in the plane. Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to show off. And, they show off because their ego is unleashed.
Ego unleashed is the driving force behind someone’s macho attitude. He has more than normal pride and self esteem… he has a superlative sense of pride and esteem, believes he is better than everybody else, and everybody else has to acknowledge that. Thus the showing off, the swagger, the bullying and the big talk. It is especially prevalent in young gangs, where recognition is key. Some gangs even require a new member to kill somebody to prove they are fearless and macho.
Two Sides of Macho
The Village People recorded the song, “Macho Man” in 1978. The last verse of the song says,
Every man ought to be a macho, macho man
To live a life of freedom, machos make a stand
Have your own lifestyles and ideals
Possess the strength of confidence, that’s the skill
You can best believe that he’s a macho man.
There are many interpretations of the song, some saying it is a satire, a parody, and a mocking of the macho man image. However, there is another side in this verse that shows the positives of macho. Being a free spirit, taking a stand, having confidence that comes from strength and that gives more strength.
Certainly the attributes of Macho are well ingrained in the American male psyche. We all admire the Navy Seals with their fighting abilities, strict discipline and tough reputation. It’s resilient, strong and durable. It watches NASCAR and football and Barbeques steaks on the grill. It says, “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
Good Ego – Bad Ego
The bad side of Macho happens when someone gets obsessive about his ego and superiority complex. Most of us have come across people who won’t stop talking about themselves, or where they are from, or their views of life in an incessant attempt to make everybody pay attention to them. Sometimes they will keep talking louder and louder until everyone else in the room stops and is forced to hear what he says. This is bad enough in a social setting, but when it is transferred to a job or to the family, the results can be devastating.
Decisions arise out of our own perspectives. If we are cautious, we check all the variables, have a Plan B and a Plan C, and make sure we have all the supplies we need for the venture. Pilots do this for every flight, because the stakes are so high. Military planners do the same, and try to address every scenario. This is a well balanced approach to anything we do… driving, flying, adventure seeking, etc. But there is a point where one can be too cautious and never do anything. This ultimately leads to failure, frustration and disappointment in life. On the other hand, Too much risk taking can take us down into the abyss of unforeseen consequences.
From Woodstock To Eternity – No Guts No Glory
In the book, “From Woodstock To Eternity,” Dustin Morgan entertains a Macho attitude in his fearless attitude towards flying over the Caribbean to Colombia and back with loads of pot. He’s not trying to draw attention to himself, but he sees the endeavor as a gauntlet he must go through to see what’s on the other side. He knew the other side brought money, status, glory and self satisfaction. This made the risk worthwhile, although the penalty eventually caught up with him.
You can read about what happens next in the sequel “The Steel Wall,” which will be ready for publication soon.