Soar to Success the book

Soar to Success the Wright Way book

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Read the introduction to

Soar to Success the Wright Way

“The Wright brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing for their invention became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together. They were the first true globalizers as flight paths became the first superhighways of a new international economy. The Wright brothers and their invention made the world smaller and brought its people closer together.”  – Bill Gates, founder and CEO of Microsoft 

You’re holding much more than a history of the early days of powered flight. It’s more than another biography of two of the century’s most creative inventors. This is also more than a self-help manual. Soar to Success the Wright Way is a combination of biography, history, motivational, and self-help book. A virtual blueprint of how Wilbur and Orville Wright uncovered the mysteries of flight to build the world’s first heavier than air flying machine, this book will show you how to use their knowledge and experience to build a better you.

At the core of their personalities, Wilbur and Orville Wright possessed deep-rooted character traits that constantly spurred them to try new things, to strive harder, and to reach further with every new endeavor. These character traits allowed them to unlock the secrets of flight.

As you learn more about the Wrights you’ll begin to recognize their same success-generating character traits in your own personality. And as you learn to maximize these characteristics, you’ll also learn how to develop your strengths, conquer your weaknesses and set and achieve goals that seem as impossible to you today as human flight was before December 17, 1903.

For thousands of years humanity only dreamt of flight. Standing on the ground and marveling at the birds in the air, humans could only imagine the freedom of shaking free the pull of earth and soaring above the trees.

The ancient Greek myth of Icarus symbolized the dreams of the earliest modern society. Daedalus, the father of Icarus, fashioned wings with wood, wax, and feathers, and took to the air. Of course Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wax wings melted, and he fell to his death. In myth, Icarus set a deadly pattern that humanity would follow in reality for hundreds and hundreds of years.

The first tentative steps of aviation were taken by long forgotten men consumed with a passion to follow the birds. With little more research than watching birds soar in the sky, the spiritual sons of Icarus took up wings made of feathers or designed in odd shapes or simply based on unrealistic ideas and calculations and flung themselves off cliffs, hoping to fly. They paid for their mistakes with their lives.

By the late 1800s modern aviation was little more than bulky balloons and primitive gliders with little or no control.

In Germany, Otto Lilienthal constructed and flew in the world’s first successful gliders. After dozens of designs, years of research and thousands of glides, Lilienthal’s glider stalled and he fell to his death in August 1896.

That year in England, Percy Pilcher built a glider that he flew hundreds of times. But Pilcher also lost his life in a crash four years later, in October 1899.

Inventors and adventurers like Lilienthal and Pilcher died in vain attempts to conquer flight, and still the aerodynamic and mathematical necessities remained unsolved mysteries.

Paris-born Octave Chanute was a leading civil engineer working in the United States in the late 1890s. Although Chanute was an informal repository of aviation information at the turn of the century, the gliders he built failed to soar more than a few feet.

Leonardo De Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Samuel P. Langley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, were just a few of the better-known inventors who also accepted the challenge of flight.

“But one by one, they had been compelled to confess themselves beaten, and had discontinued their efforts,” Wilbur said.

While the Wright brothers’ achievement today seems like the natural progression of history – steamboat, automobile, airplane – that wasn’t exactly the case in 1900. Human flight had been impossible for so long, that most people considered it unobtainable. Flight in their day was as impossible as traveling at light speed is today.

“When a man said, ‘It can’t be done: a man might as well try to fly,’ he was understood as expressing the final limit of impossibility,” Wilbur said about the thinking of his day.

And yet, after thousands of years of dreaming, two quiet, simple men from Dayton, Ohio made the world’s dream of flight a reality with fewer than five years of study.

Five years.

Without a serious life-threatening disaster and with relatively little expense, they solved a mystery that had cost some men fortunes and others their lives. How did they do it?

Not far from the spot where the brothers fulfilled humanity’s dream stands a massive monument honoring their achievement. “In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright,” reads the inscription on the monument. “Conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith.”

Was it genius? Was their accomplishment beyond the abilities of society’s leading thinkers? Not entirely, although the best minds of history had set their sights on flight and had fallen short.

The Wrights reached humanity’s goal when all others failed. How? How did the Wrights accomplish what the vast majority of the world thought impossible?

The story behind the brothers’ historical achievement is much more complex than simple genius. If it was genius, it was a genius achieved through hard work and determination. A genius that you, too, can create and nurture and rely on to soar to your own successes.

Behaving more like the inventive Daedalus than the reckless Icarus, the Wrights followed a path of discovery built on their character traits. They approached the question of flight systematically and their style of work differed from any other flight pioneer in history. The simple characteristics that shaped the Wrights made possible the impossibility of flight. These core characteristics are:

  • Curiosity
  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Dedication
  • Efficiency
  • Humor
  • Relaxation

These same core characteristics are in each of us in varying amounts. Each of us is confident or curious sometimes. We all have some degree of dedication, optimism, and humor. And everyone is lucky sometimes. By living the Wright Way, you can literally increase your chances of being lucky!

Each of these characteristics is interconnected. Too much curiosity and you may never have the desire to take action. If you are too dedicated, you may never take the time to relax and enjoy the life you are building. Too much humor and you may never be taken seriously, but not enough humor and you probably aren’t much fun to be around.

All extremely successful people share the Wright characteristics, but well-rounded, happy, and successful people have achieved the right balance of the Wright characteristics. You can achieve the Wright balance, too.

You can also learn to recognize these characteristics in others, and help them find the Wright balance. If you’re a parent, by learning how to accomplish the impossible in your own life, you’ll be in the perfect position to encourage and nurture these characteristics in your children. If you’re an employer, team leader, manager or supervisor, you’ll learn to assist others as they cultivate and further develop these characteristics. If you’re an employee, and you recognize these characteristics in your boss, then give her a copy of this book and encourage her to find her highest potential.

While you’re reading, be prepared to take notes. Be an active reader and think beyond the pages in your hand.

Consider these concepts in the context of your entire life. Seriously think about how you see yourself, your goals and dreams, and how you intend to reach them. If I do my job correctly, as you read you’ll ask yourself a lot of questions.

Like everything else in life, you’ll get out of this book what you want to get out of it. But keep an open mind, think beyond the confines of the printed page, and perhaps you’ll find what you need to find.

There are no easy answers and no “generic” definition of success or happiness. You wouldn’t imagine living someone else’s life, so why would you want to live someone else’s idea of success or try to bend your life around someone else’s version of happiness?

Each of us must identify what makes us happy. Success is a personal goal that we need to define for ourselves. We can’t walk someone else’s road, we have to pursue the path that is uniquely ours. Understanding the Wright characteristics, and identifying and cultivating these characteristics will help us learn to attempt our impossible goal.

As you read, think about what success means to you, how you define it, and what you’re willing to do to find it. Think beyond the stereotypical, popular culture idea of success, and try to gain an insight into your idea of what success means to you. We’ll examine the concept of success in the final chapter. After learning how the Wrights set a goal, accomplished the impossible and found success, you’ll be in a much better position to focus on your goals and pursue your unique idea of success.

Because we all possess the Wright qualities, we can all soar on wings of greatness — wings of our own design and construction. By further developing the Wright characteristics, by maximizing our strengths as they are right now in our journey through life, even the impossible is possible. From ordinary lives, we can accomplish the extraordinary, just like Wilbur and Orville Wright. Let’s get started.

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