2) Work haphazardly
Anders Ericsson is an internationally recognized Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, who has spent a lifetime researching and studying human achievement and performance. He’s studied world-class experts in a variety of areas, including: athletics, music, chess, medicine, etc.
What Professor Ericsson has found, is that the best way to improve and become a master in your life’s work, is through purposeful (or dedicated) practice. He has authored several books, most recently “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” published in 2016. Simply stated Ericsson describes Purposeful Practice as having four important primary components: a specific goal, intense focus, immediate feedback and frequent incremental improvements.
The Wright brothers are nearly a perfect example for all of the above.
3) Chase someone else’s goal
Their objective of flying wasn’t assigned to them. It wasn’t the goal of some wealthy industrialist, who pressured the brothers to solve the challenge of flight. It wasn’t a directive from an existing business enterprise looking for a new way to transport paying customers.
Learning to fly was their goal. The seeds of which originated in 1878 when their father brought home a small toy helicopter for Orville and Wilbur, then just seven and nine years old. The boys played constantly with the rubber band powered toy until it broke. At which point they built their own.
Although Milton made his sons promise they’d never fly together, there was just one exception ever made to that rule. Orville and Wilbur flew together on May 25th, 1910.
The brothers landed safely. Afterwards, Orville took up their father, Milton for his one and only flight. The 82 year-old Milton climbed aboard the flyer and held on tightly as it accelerated across the ground. As Orville powered the aircraft upwards, Milton looked down and watched everything he’d ever known in all his 82 years, slowly fall away. He saw the clumps of grass and the leaves on the trees merge into blocks of solid colors. He saw plots of land. He saw how the fencing created lines across the terrain below. He watched a small flock of startled birds take off from a field and fly under the Wright plane. Everything Milton had ever known was below him, as though it were spread out on giant flat canvas.
I wonder if his first and only experience flying generated a glimpse of a new world of possibilities. If at some point during the flight Milton sensed a transition. Certainly they knew their invention would result in enormous changes in the world below.
During the flight, Milton turned his head, and looked at his son Orville. So that Milton could be heard above the wind and the engine noise – and the din of the beliefs and limitations that held our bare feet to the warm hard earth over the millennia – Milton shouted to his son.
“Higher, Orville, higher!”