The Easy Way and the Better Way.

There may not be an easy way, but there surely is a better way.


Yesterday was Wright Brother Day, celebrating 120 years since the famous brothers flew their heavier than air and mechanically propelled airplane across the sandy dunes near Kitty Hawk. While the day honors their monumental achievement, the true essence of their accomplishment lies in their unwavering persistence and problem-solving skills amidst significant constraints.


During the early 1900's, numerous individuals and organizations were working on the "problem" of flight, and many of them were, at least on paper, better suited and financed for the task. Yet a lack of a high school education or substantial financial resources did not hold the Wright brothers back. In fact, these "constraints" allowed them to think more nimbly, unencumbered by the bureaucratic red tape inherit with well financed endeavors.


With no formal education, the Wright brothers read every book they could on flight and consulted with the "experts" of their day. However, practical testing revealed that many of the beliefs and ideas on flight at that time simply did not work. The experts, to put it frankly, didn't know shit. The brothers would have to figure this problem of flight out on their own, and they would have to finance it on the modest profits from their bike shop in Dayton, Ohio.


And problem solve they did. Through relentless trial and error they perfected the design of the wing and created unique ways to 'warp' it and thus control the first airplane. They even designed and perfected their own wind tunnel, which, like their airplane, was made of spare parts taken from their bicycle shop. They even used the wind tunnel to design and create the first efficient airplane propeller.


The most damaging mindset a person can take is believing that lacking something puts them at a disadvantage. Scarcity of resources is what drives creative and sometimes novel thinking that others may overlook in pursuit of a more direct and easy path.


The Wright brothers story underscore an inverse relationship between how easy something is and the quality of the lessons we learn from it. Learning to fly was really, really hard. Many people died in the pursuit of first flight. When I find myself struggling with a problem, or wishing there was an easier way, I remind myself of the Wright brothers and their dogged pursuit- not of an easier way, but of a better way.


Antonio Gonzalez

Tri Town Bicycles



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