thoughts, theories, observations & informationSubscribe Now

Orville Wright Did Not Have A Pilot’s License

I recently read Gordon MacKenzie’s Orbiting The Giant Hairball, an excellent book about cultivating personal creativity – particularly how to do so in the workplace. It is a brilliant book, chronicling the author’s experiences as an employee at Hallmark.  The book is filled with doodles, sketches, stories, and anecdotes chronicling ways in which Gordon managed to leverage his creativity to further his career and enrich his life. The chapters are short, and it is a very quick but powerful read.

One of my favorite chapters in the book, happens to be the shortest.  The chapter is simply entitled Orville Wright.  The complete text of the chapter is as follows: “Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license.”  Eight simple words conveying so much meaning.

Perhaps this refernece to Orville resonates with me because of my attachment to Dayton – a place where you see the Wright Brothers referenced so often you might think they were still alive and represented by an exceptional PR firm.  I attended a University named for them.  I see a replica of their plane flying out of an airport named for them about once a week near my home.  I see references to them on water towers, and parks and in the name one of the largest military installations in the world in Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

The thing that is so important about MacKenzie’s words to me is the idea that Orville Wright and his brother Wilbur did not need permission to change the world.  They needed creativity, passion, and persistence.  Luckily for us, they had an abundance of all three.

Their idea was not widely embraced at first.  They did not care.  Their idea did not have huge corporate funding.  That did not stop them.  Their idea had never been done.  That inspired them.  Their idea was risky.  They believed in it.  Their idea failed many times.  They knew it could succeed.  The Wrights did not have “permission” to fly.  They did not need it.  They wanted to fly and committed to making it happen.

What is that idea that is brewing in your head?  What is the dream you hold dear?  Is it personal, professional, philanthropic?  Are you thinking about health care? energy? human rights? pollution? job creation? communication? What is stopping you from telling someone about it… from working on it?  Is your idea really crazier than two guys in a bike shop thinking they can invent human aviation?  Are you waiting on a non-existent “pilot’s license” or are you preparing to fly?  What will you do to change the world?

Wright brothers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia