What can you learn from two brothers who flew through impossibility?
- How to finance your dream.
- How to run your business.
- How to work with partners.
- How to learn your craft.
- How to develop your skills.
Make sure to read yesterday’s primer on the first 5 lessons you can learn about ignoring impossibility and exploring the creative frontier. Today we dive into specifics on what innovation looks like on a daily basis. Tips from two inventors who changed the idea of what was possible and probable in their lifetime.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (right away)
Capitalizing on the national bicycle craze, the brothers opened a repair and sales shop in 1892 (the Wright Cycle Exchange, later the Wright Cycle Company) and began manufacturing their own brand in 1896. They used this endeavor to fund their growing interest in flight.
That’s right. Not glamorous or exciting or fun, but it works. Keep your day job to finance your dream. They used their skill in mechanics to capitalize on the bicycle craze and took advantage of the opportunity to hone their skills and practice their craft. Why should you be any different? Think twice before jumping the bandwagon of your current career. A great read is Quitter by Jon Acuff on that very topic.
Commit to Lifelong Learning
In May 1899 Wilbur wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institution requesting information and publications about aeronautics.
Yep. Way back in 1899 before the internet and Wikipedia, you had to seek out information and publications to get more information. It wasn’t available at the click of a mouse. So why in the world with the easy accessibility of research and education would you not take complete control and responsibility for that part of your development?
Get intentional with your research and learning.
That’s one of my goals for 2012… focus on what I want to learn and stop being so disjointed or distracted by a myriad of unrelated topics. If you want to learn lighting, just study lighting for a set time period and really master that. Then move on to something else. If you want to learn how to run a business, choose one or two aspects to focus on and really become a master. You’ll find the strategy of focus and intentionality will take your learning and development to a whole new level.
Study the Masters
Drawing on the work of Sir George Cayley, Chanute, Lilienthal, Leonardo da Vinci, and Langley, they began their mechanical aeronautical experimentation that year.
This is not new or at least shouldn’t be a new concept to you. I’ve mentioned it numerous times and it was part of the first tasra365 challenge issued by Scott Bourne.
Looking at the masters, studying what they did, learning from the way they thought and designed is an important step in your own development.
This is not about copying or reproducing someone else’s work, but thinking about their thinking. Draw from the deep well of their inspiration and you’ll find your own work start to take a form you may not have thought possible.
Develop Close Collaboration
Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first aircraft engine in close collaboration with the brothers.
The (butt-kicking) work that John Saddington is putting me through for Class 0 at Chair Co is INSANE! Seriously, I’m a hard worker, fairly disciplined and pretty organized. But I honestly feel more like Luke Skywalker with Yoda right now. “I can’t.” “It’s impossible.”
Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a Jedi (or whatever future vision of myself I might have dreamt).
One of the KEY principles John is hammering (yes, that’s what it feels like) into my head and heart is that working alone is no longer an option. You can imagine the cognitive dissonance this is creating for me as an extremely independent creative. However, the research I’ve been doing in books and history is bearing out the truth of this concept. And here we have it again in the famous brothers… close collaboration is key to taking you beyond where you can go alone.
Think about it.
Trust Your Instincts
The Wrights confirmed their suspicion that published data on lift were unreliable, and they decided to expand their investigation. The 1901 wings had significantly greater curvature, a highly inefficient feature the Wrights copied directly from Lilienthal. Fully confident in their new wind tunnel results, the Wrights discarded Lilienthal’s data, now basing their designs on their own calculations.
Just because it’s been done before a certain way for tens, hundreds or thousands of years doesn’t mean that is the right way… for you.
Stop trusting everyone else and their models for business and life. This is your own life. Live it your way.
When something doesn’t fit or feel right, don’t just ignore it and move on. Work with it, analyze it, study it, refine it, test it. Make a change.
Discard data that doesn’t work for you. Just because 1000 other people in your industry, circle of friends or family say it’s the right way or best way doesn’t mean it is. Everything is changing so fast in our world and environment that if you listen to everyone else and what they’re selling you, you’ll never become the innovator you could be… you’ll never really step into your own version of an insanely great life.
Don’t let that happen. Trust your instincts.
That’s enough for today.
Take these lessons to heart.
Choose ONE strategy above and tell us in the comments what you plan TO DO to make a change today!