The Coach's Corner

Jet lag is a choice

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #38

When I travel for business or pleasure overseas most of these trips require a quick turnaround. Because of the timing, I don’t spend much time thinking about jet lag since I take proactive action in flight and upon arrival so that I can function on a nearly normal basis on the ground. I recently enjoyed another ‘short’ trip to reconnect with a dear friend in Bosnia – and throughout our time I found myself generally free of jet lag.

A temporary disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms after high-speed air travel through several time zones.

Jet lag was top of mind because of a very animated conversation I heard as my flight was landing in Sarajevo.

Can you believe that Taylor Swift said, “jet lag is a choice?”

Of course she can say that! She flies in a private jet with a host of support, among other perks.

I had to get online to confirm the story and sure enough, after the Super Bowl, Swift uttered those five words to her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, after congratulating him on the field when his team beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl (bummer.)

When he asked her,

How are you not jet lagged right now?

She laughed,

Jet lag is a choice!

I thought her off-hand remark, with science to back her up, was clever and characteristic of the intentional way she goes about doing just about anything that surrounds her performances.

As I read through some of the critical social media reactions to Swift’s comment I noticed that when a long-held belief or thought pattern is challenged – I didn’t know jet lag was held in such high esteem – someone who previously might have been thought of as open-minded shuts down. They simply cannot believe this new idea will fit into their way of thinking.

That gets me to wondering how someone takes in new, even foreign, information and weighs it, then decides to adapt it or dismiss it without judgment?

Until now I haven’t talked about jet lag with clients, however we do talk about how to bring an open-minded perspective to work, life and relationships. I believe this tug of war between clinging to a way of thinking and being open-minded may be at the core of the disconnect.


Jet lag is a choice

Way before Swift openly commented on jet lag, Dr. Alon Avidan who directs the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, shared his suggestions in an article How to beat jet lag (according to science)

·      Upon boarding the plane, change your watch to the destination time zone.

·      Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least three to four hours before bedtime.

·      Upon arrival at a destination, avoid heavy meals, but eat meals according to local time.

·      Try to get outside in the sunlight at the appropriate time. Daylight is the most powerful stimulant for resetting your jet lag for your trip and on your way back home.

There’s no guarantee that doing any or all of these things will give you full relief from a flight that crosses one or more international time zones. But by taking some of these actions, there’s a good chance you can minimize the effects.

I find it fascinating to put jet lag into a category where you, the traveler, has some control – rather than leaving it all to external forces.

To make this shift, it’s helpful to be willing to consider a perspective that you previously hadn’t considered. In other, words, to be open-minded.


Kendra Cherry, MSEd, has written a piece in about How to be Open-Minded and Why it Matters.

Effective leaders are able to overcome fixed thinking, generate new ideas, and take advice from knowledgeable members of their team. Being open-minded allows people in leadership positions to look for creative solutions and rely on members of the group who have experience and expertise.

Whether you’re leading a team or managing a household, being receptive to new ideas and information reveals to others that you listen, that you don’t have all the answers and that you’re willing to figure things out together. Maybe even grasping that jet lag is a choice.



How to be open-minded when you get new information

Most of us like to think we’re open-minded and don’t hold to our opinions with closed fists. Until we’re confronted with an idea that challenges a perception or way of doing things.

Cherry offers a number of ways to cultivate open-mindedness, and I’d like to share one of her findings. It’s something you can offer yourself in those moments when you’re not ready to embrace something that doesn’t fit into what you already know.

She encourages us to ask questions – not just of others, but also of yourself.As you encounter new information , ask yourself:

How much do I really know about the topic?

How trustworthy is the source?

Have I considered other ideas?

Do I have any biases that might be influencing my thinking?

Try out one, or all four, of these questions when a thought pattern you’ve held is challenged with new information.


My takeaway

Whenever I travel I am pushed beyond my comfort zone.

So much is different: city living, life in rural areas, culture, language, political systems, climate.

And so much is the same: kindness, empathy, connection with family and friends, loyalty, work ethic, concern about safety.

Sanja and Jasna Spaic

This trip marks my 6th visit to Sarajevo, which all started when I reported on the end of the Bosnian war in 1996 for KCBS Radio. That’s when I met Jasna Spaic and her daughter Sanja. Since then I’ve returned for a graduation celebration, the best wedding ever and to vacation. On this occasion I came to honor the vibrant life of Jasna, enjoying all the places she loved the most with her family. She taught me many things about staying open-minded, accepting people with whom I disagree, and how much power I have to make choices every single day.

Back in 1996, when I was lamenting all she and her family had lost in the war, her daughter translated these words of hope,

What other way is there to look, but up?

Jasna Spaic

Looking up is a choice – and one that doesn’t always come easily.

Table of Contents

Additional Articles

In awe of the eclipse

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #44 Sitting outside a Denver-area restaurant with my friend, Frances, on Monday we used our MedOptics glasses to view the partial

Read More »

Do you trust your gut?

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #43 One of my brothers recently shared that the biggest thing he’s learned about himself is using his accumulated wisdom to

Read More »