When Wright is Wrong

go site source site wright brothersI have an easy question for you. It’s one you’ve probably heard before, but be prepared; you’re likely to get the answer wrong. Most people do. So here it is: “Who built the first heavier-than-air aircraft capable of manned flight?”  It was Wilbur and Orville Wright, wasn’t it? They made their historic flight on December 17, 1903, but if you think the answer is, “The Wright brothers,” you probably don’t know the story of Samuel Pierpont Langley. He was there first. Seriously.

source link You see, Samuel Langley catapulted his manned flying machine into the air on December 8, 1903, nine days before the Wright brothers took flight. Nine days before! Don’t believe me? Check with the Smithsonian. That institution credited Langley’s Aerodrome, not the Wright Brothers’ Flyer, with this honor. He built it. It flew. It was hung in the Smithsonian. So in answer to my question, could it be that “Wright,” is wrong?

source url Well, kinda.

Купить закладки лирика в Пустошке The Smithsonian’s claim is true: It was Langley. But that claim is misleading. The word “capable,” in my question, changes everything. Langley’s airplane might have been “capable” of flight, but when it was catapulted into the air… it actually made an immediate kerplunk right into the Potomac River. It was an embarrassing failure. Perhaps Langley’s Aerodrome was capable, but it didn’t actually fly until it was rebuilt – with improvements – in 1914. And by the way, Samuel Langley was the former Secretary at the Smithsonian. Hmmmmm.

Back in 1903 something was in the air, but it wasn’t Langley.

The Smithsonian Institution took 45 years to admit to this misrepresentation. Its leadership wanted the world to focus on a “capability,” not the actual achievement of flight.

It took me nearly as long to embrace this distinction for myself. Capability is not achievement. For decades I tried to ignore that simple truth, choosing to live in a world of what I could achieve, not the actual achievements. Even at this time in my life, nearly six decades at this writing, I spend too much time in the Walter Mitty world of daydreaming my possibilities.

My potential, I like to tell myself, is great… but potential speaks only of possibilities.

Success is in the doing — not the planning, imagining, or strategizing. Success is in the actualization of these things. It takes risk, the possibility of failure, the fear of embarrassment, and the potential wounds of self-judgment.

But there is hope for all of this, a hope that’s found in your past — your past successes. This is where courage is born. Look to your past successes. Bolt them to your capabilities and take flight.

go to site Capability is nothing. Accomplishment is everything.

You and I can’t spend our days feeling good about our capabilities. Capabilities are nothing. What we accomplish is what really matters. The Smithsonian finally stopped lying to itself and to the world. But the other guys… the ones who actually flew? Well they were Wright all along.


This entry was posted in 2. The Power of Who You Will Become, 3. The Power of Capacity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to When Wright is Wrong

  1. Alex Seltzer says:

    These are words to live by. Thank you Jeffrey!

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