Exploring Possibilities: Magic Of Mindset
Samuel Pierpont Langley. How many of us have heard this name earlier? Barring a few of us, who must have been enthusiastic about cracking a few quiz or competitive exams, for others this name must be striking the ears for the first time.
Back in the early 20th century the technology for controlled man flight was the hottest pursuit across the world. Samuel Pierpont Langley was the poster child of this movement and was expected to be the first one to crack the puzzle of human beings flying in air. Samuel Pierpont Langley had, what we assume, the perfect recipe of success.
Even today if we ask, why do a company or idea fail, the answer is, they are undercapitalized, bad people or man power and unfavorable market conditions. Let's explore that in this case.... Mr. Langley was given 50000 dollars by the war department for figuring out what it takes to fly.
So capital/money was not the problem. He was extremely well connected and hired the best talent that the money can find and market conditions were favoring him only. The New York Times followed him everywhere he went.
How come we haven’t heard of him after 120 years?
The reason is this...A few miles away the two Wright brothers Oliver and Wilbur Wright were also having a similar pursuit. But they had none of these recipes of success. They paid for their dream from the proceeds of their bicycle shop. They had little formal education and not a single person in their team had college education. And New York Times followed them.... nowhere.
But they were driven by the grit and determination to change the course of the world by their discovery. Samuel Pierpont wanted to be rich and famous. People in Wright brothers team work with their blood and sweat...but in Langley's team they work for the pay cheque after the month. It's said that the Wright brothers daily carried 5 -6 sets of tools, materials and equipment...because they knew that they would crash down 5- 6 times in the attempts to get the right combination.
Eventually on December 17 1903, they took flight and no one was there to experience. Though the world came to know about it a few days later and the rest is history as you all know. Now still Mr. Langley could have still become famous. He could’ve said hey guys you have got the raw machine let me improve and refine the technology with the resources I have. But he just wanted to be the first one, wanted to get the riches, glamour and failing to do the same, he simply quit.
This brings us to an evaluation that for the final achievement, effort is a bigger contributor than talent. As per the book Grit by Angela Duckworth the equation of success is as follows...
TALENT x EFFORT = SKILL & SKILL x EFFORT = ACHIEVEMENT.
In this equation talent counts once and effort counts twice. When we apply effort to base level talent we get skill. When we apply effort to this acquired skill we get achievement. So grit or determination, which is defined as, “the sustained application of effort towards a goal”, is the biggest contributor to lifelong achievement. For a few, lack of talent becomes an excuse and for some it's liberating from self- imposed burdens of being talented.
As per the experts, we all have the capacity and potential to grow our grit. Let’s understand how we can do that ..
1. Develop a fascination for what you are trying to do...
2. Strive to improve each day.
3. Greater purpose or look at bigger picture
4. Growth mindset
Now before I finish a small assignment to the readers. Cross check and evaluate the above story of Wright brothers against the 4 points mentioned here. It will be fascinating to see all the methods of improving the determination and grit were applied by the Wright Brothers. So learning to stick to something is a life skill, which we all can develop.....All the best and explore possibilities.....
(The author is a Certified Designed Thinking Master practitioner and Clifton Certified Strength Finder Coach, Corporate Trainer and a Leadership coach. He is based in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.)