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If At First You Don’t Succeed… The Wright Way To Go

Like flight pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright, you’ll never get off the ground if you don’t try.

This weeks blog is inspired from an article in the October issue of THE RED BULLETIN written by Jeff Wise, a journalist and the author of “Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger

Jeff writes, “On the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, 35,000 people gathered at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to watch a replica of the famous first plane take to the air. Nothing had been left to chance: the $1.2 million reproduction was exact in every detail, right down to the thread count in the muslin that covered the wing struts.

However, the weather was failing to cooperate. When the hallowed moment came, it was raining—and worse, almost completely windless. At last the drizzle subsided. With the help of some of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s descendents, the craft was maneuvered onto its launching rail. The pilot throttled the engine up to its maximum 12 horsepower, and the replica Flyer set off down the 200-foot track.

It didn’t get very far. Rearing up, it climbed about 6 inches off the ground and then finally slumped ignominiously into a puddle. As 35,000 people witnessed first hand that day, the Wright’s “first airplane was such a poor flyer that it barely qualified to be called an airplane at all. It only managed to get off the ground back in December 1903 because there happened to be a strong wind that day.

In retrospect, we now understand that the Wright brothers made many wrong guesses in configuring their design. The propellers were in the back, instead of the front; the elevator (this controls the movement of an aircraft’s tail) was in the front, instead of the back; the wings angled downward, instead of upward. The plane was barely controllable.

Does that mean that the brothers’ first flight – a 12-second hop was a historical irrelevance? Not at all. The Wright’s did accomplish something epochal that day. Until that moment of quasi-flight, no one really knew whether a heavier-than-air flying machine lay within the realm of possibility. After Kitty Hawk, they did. The Wright brothers may not have had all the details worked out, but they had one foot through the doorway.

A similar dynamic holds true for us as individuals. We each live a life bounded by a sense of what we know to be possible for ourselves. Everything else lies beyond, in the realm of Things That We Might Not Be Able To Do. And then, one day, we cross over the line, and our personal domain is forever enlarged.

Is this the day you decide to become an entrepreneur, perhaps start your own mail order business. If you don’t give it a shot, you’ll never have the opportunity to cross over the line. “Before Edmund Hillary climbed Everest, no one knew the human body could endure such punishing conditions. Before Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile in 1954 it was a goal that lay in the far fringes of possibility. When reports of the Wrights’ achievement leaked out, they electrified a group of European engineers and inventors who had been working for years to solve the problem of flight. They had no details about how the Flyer worked-the Wright brothers were legendarily secretive-but knowing what they were tackling was definitely possible, they redoubled their efforts. Then on October 23, 1906, a Brazilian-born inventor named Alberto Santos-Dumont took to the air in a craft he called “14 bis“. The world as these pioneers knew it was forever changed.

Opportunity is all around if you are willing to get up and cross that line. Here’s one that could change your life.

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