In the fall of 1902, after a disappointing season of attempting heavier than air flight, Wilbur looked at his brother Orville on their train ride home and said, “I'm not sure if heavier than air flight, manpowered flight, will happen for another thousand years. They had major setbacks. Their 1902 versions paled in comparison to their 1901. They increased the wing span, but still weren't able to get it done. They weren't able to get it off the ground and have a successful, heavier than air flight that was man controlled.
Today we're at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Boy, I am so glad that Wilbur and Orville didn't allow 1902 to set them back so far that they didn't push through that. The brothers decided they were going to give it another shot in the following season, and on December 17th, 1903, Orville Wright was able to take off and create a new paradigm in travel heavier than air flight. What an amazing moment that must have been. It took them seven years of calculations, looking at wingspan, engines, rudders, and piloting to reach that 59 second moment where man was flying above the earth. I can just sit in this moment, and imagine what that would’ve been like to create a new paradigm. A new possibility to change the face of the planet and the future of the planet.
Paradigms are a term that nowadays get thrown around. There are paradigm shifts here and paradigms there. The term has almost lost some of its zing because it's become a marketing term instead of this powerful thing to look at to support us in making changes in our life. But really, what is a paradigm? Let's take a look at that for a second. According to Joel Parker, a paradigm is really nothing more than two things. Number one: it is a set of boundaries for how to solve problems. It lays out the guidelines for how you solve problems in this particular situation. Number two: the rules for how to win inside that problem solving area.
It's really just a box that helps you to determine outcomes so that you can produce a result. And what is a paradigm shift? It's when you honor the past, but create a completely new concept. The Wright brothers created heavier than air flight, but they weren't the only ones attempting it. But how did they get there? How did they create this paradigm shift? Up to that point, airplanes existed. The term, the patent, all of that was already out there. A lot of us thought they invented airplanes. That was the thought that I had as a child.
As you start to peel it back and look at what really occurred over the course of seven years, what they realized is that there were three things that were needed in order to create this heavier than air flight to create a man controlled, powered flight that was sustainable. The wings were fine. Wings existed. They had made some tweaks, but wings had existed before. The engines had existed for many years up to that point. Combustion engines, all of that had existed. Propellers existed. What didn't exist? It was piloting. It was being able to control the sustained flight. If man wasn't able to do that, it had no possibility.
In fact, if you look at the patents that the Wright brothers had, there were no airplanes involved. It was the control systems. That's where their patent was. It was on the controls and how they could guide it. On that fateful day, they had figured out how to be in unison with the wind, using the power, using the wings, but allowing the pilot to shift his weight.
How did they do that? They came from outside the industry. They weren't mechanics. They weren't part of the railroad and certainly weren't people that had vetted gliding. They leveraged all these points, but they came from bicycles. They owned a bicycle shop in Ohio, and they realized that the shifting of the weight that occurs when you turn a bicycle may be applicable to heavier than air flight.
They also started to look at birds. They looked at how they glided and shifted their weight in flight. Between their research on birds and their experience in bicycling, they were able to create this possibility and invent this new paradigm.
Joel Barker also says that when a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero. Everything goes back to zero. In 2020 and 2021, this COVID pandemic that we're dealing with made everything go back to zero. The thoughts we had about the trajectory of life and where it was going and how we were going to get there, everything got set back to 0.
Instead of looking at this as a time to pull back, I wonder if we could start to open ourselves up to the possibility of what it would look like for us to create a paradigm shift within ourselves? What would it look like for us to fly? When we look at this, so many of us can learn something from the Wright brothers.There were three things they looked at when taking off. The wingspan, right? That's the support system. The structure that keeps you aloft. Maybe you need to do some work and find people to get into your project to help lift you up.
Second, it's the power. That may be your health, the skill sets you need, the energy or even the enthusiasm in your project. You need someone there and you need to motivate yourself. You need the power to get going. It could be the piloting. Maybe you need some control systems put in place to help guide you to your destination.
I recently finished my MBA, and I remember while I was attending my MBA somebody I had worked with looked at me and said, “I don't understand why you're going to get your MBA. You're just a salesman.” What I realized is that person had looked at me and realized, “Oh, well that's the paradigm.” That's where I see myself. Mike's a salesman, and he knows how to win in that paradigm. Sure. I know how to win in that paradigm. I love sales. I'm going to continue in sales. I want to support people and train them in sales. Sales is a wonderful thing, but I didn't want to view it as I was just in that one paradigm.
Over the course of those two years, when I saw my MBA, I realized I was really looking for the controls, the piloting of a business. I had the power, the enthusiasm, and the engine. I had that for a long time. I had the wingspan and the support. I had an incredible family, friends and a wife. I had a vision for where to lift myself, my family, and to support others. What I didn't have was the skills and the piloting needed.
Let's start to look at our lives. Do we need the energy or the power to get off the ground? Is it the wingspan and the support system we need to look for? Or is it merely just the piloting? Your personal paradigm can shift, and I don't mean that as a marketing term. I mean that as a possibility of what could come out of this situation.
As the world starts to open up, don't be stuck in pre 2021. Don't be stuck in the old ways of thinking that didn't serve you. This is a time that you can naturally reset, and no one is going to get mad. We sold our house, sold our cars, and bought an RV to travel around the US while we're waiting for Europe to open. Yes, it's a little unorthodox and a little crazy, but what a paradigm shift that has been going from a big, beautiful home to a small RV. We've learned to adapt. We had to learn how to pilot an RV. There are so many possibilities out there.
So look at those three things. Look at the rules and the boundaries you've set upon yourself in your current paradigm. Then, look if you need power, vision, or piloting tools. This is the time to get after it and start to create heavier than air flight for yourself. There's no reason why the dreams of the past have to be put away. They just have to be tweaked. You just need to get off that train and come back the next season to get up in the air. That next season is now. Just look at where heavier than air flight has gone. Just recently, on Mars, a helicopter took off and traveled around. It was a Wright brother moment for JPL and the team at NASA.
It's amazing the possibilities that exist if we're willing to allow the paradigm that existed in the past to sit there and appreciate what it gave us, but also to be willing to look outside of it. We need to look for where we need support to take off and launch our dreams, our careers, and the possibilities for your family.
I want to send you guys as much love as I can and remind you to own this possibility for yourself. This is a magical ground that I'm on right now. I'm so excited to be here, but I'm excited because I want to share this message that you too can create your own heavier than air flight.