The Gillian Anderson Principle.

Gillian Anderson


The Gillian Anderson Principle.

In my previous blog post, I wrote of the concept of asking, “What if?”. In asking that question we can better prepare for the unexpected or conceive of goals that we wish to pursue. In pursuing those dreams, I offered a disclaimer, “The Gillian Anderson Principle”.

As a much younger man, I routinely watched the X-Files. For younger readers, it was a TV series that centred around two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, and their investigations into all things mysterious and unexplained – from aliens to the “Flukeman”. I confess, I also watched the show to “fan boy” over Gillian Anderson, who played Dana Scully. It was somewhat of a running joke with my mates at the Aero Club, with one of the other pilots giving me a black and white studio shot of Gillian Anderson as a Christmas present.

One evening, we were just sitting around, as young pilots on the minimum wage are prone to do. We oscillated between solving the world’s problems and considering the best remedy for the hiccups. On this occasion we pondered that our reach was finite and that it was best to keep our dreams realistic to avoid disappointment. I begged to differ. I offered that our reach could be much greater than we choose to imagine. At this time, I suggested that I could have dinner with Gillian Anderson if that was what I truly wanted. It took some time for the laughter to settle before I could explain further. I proffered that if I sold the house I was paying off, along with every other possession, I could have a small pot of cash. I could then discover which charity Gillian Anderson supported and pour every dollar into being seated at her table at a fundraising event. Therefore, I could dine with Gillian Anderson.

However, the essence of the Gillian Anderson Principle is broader than the most expensive entree I would have ever consumed – it involves the degree of sacrifice one is prepared to accept to achieve a goal. Was I prepared to cash in every asset for a couple of hours with the star of the X-Files, only to return penniless? In short, no. At the same time in my life, was I prepared to halve my pay and move to the desert and live in a caravan to pursue my flying career? In short, yes.

Our reach is far greater than we sometimes imagine and we can actually secure things that seem beyond our grasp at first glance. The challenge lies in the question of how much we are prepared to sacrifice to attain that goal. So, I never drank chardonnay with Gillian Anderson but I did much better. I married a gorgeous girl with whom I share four great kids. Thirty years after we first met, she still makes me laugh and still makes me turn my head. Sorry Gillian, the only X-File here is how I got so lucky.

Owen Zupp Aviation Books