Have you heard about a man called Samuel Langley? The story of his life reveals the one untold story of the aviation success of the Wright Brothers. Their names are Wilbur and Orville Wright and they were the very first humans to fly on air successfully. Considering how they made this feat possible without sponsors and prior knowledge of aviation will show you that we need to go beyond the classroom in every endeavour we choose in life; we need to go beyond what the school can teach us at any point in time. The event of how Samuel Langley failed the world in producing the first flight will surprise you if all you think is that school knowledge alone is all that is required for success.
His name was Dr. Samuel Langley and he was a respected professor of mathematics and astronomy. At the time, he was the director of the Smithsonian Institute. Langley was an accomplished thinker, scientist and inventor with several important reference works on aerodynamics to his credit. His strongest vision was to achieve a manned flight before long. By the late 1890’s, he had done extensive experiments with large unmanned plane models with a very high degree of success.
In 1898, Langley having all the evidence that he could achieve production of the first airplane to take man aboard, approached the US war department for funding to design and build an airplane to take man aloft. This request was granted with a whooping sum of $50,000. Please begin to imagine this amount by the year 1901 when Langley started work on the first government sponsored airplane project. Same year, he was able to produce and test, the first in history of man, an unmanned gasoline-powered heavier-than-air jet. With this record of success and more government backing, Samuel Langley enlisted the services of another engineer –Charles Manley. Manley had earlier built a powerful lightweight engine based on the design of Stephen Balzar. His success was seen as without measure.
It was October the 8th 1903, and Langley was expecting his years of hard work to come to fruition. Journalists were curious to report the first flight ever by any man. Friends and relatives of a renowned engineer and scientist were applauding in expectation of history they were about to witness. Other onlookers watched Charles Manley, wearing a cork-lined jacket, stride across the deck of a modified houseboat and climb into the pilot’s seat of a craft they named the “Great Aerodrome.” This full-sized, motorized device, according to Richard Carswell, was perched atop a specially built catapult-designed device to initiate the Aerodrome’s flight into the air. But something happened as they attempted to launch. Part of the Aerodrome got caught, and the bi-plane was plunged into a 16-foot water mere fifty yards away from the boat.
At first, Langley did not let this great failure and its accompanying criticism deter him. 8 weeks later – early December, 1903, he and Manley were ready to show the world another flight. This time, they worked seriously on what they saw as deficiencies of the Aerodrome. Just like before, Manley climbed into the cockpit from the houseboat’s deck, ready to make history but he almost lost his life as the craft caught again on the launch rail and plunged into the river upside down.
Worried and highly disappointed, Langley was ready to surrender. Langley with all his school knowledge was branded public funds waster. The Aerodrome originally hailed as would-be first manned Airplane was finally called “Langley’s Folly.” The New York Times branded it “Airship.” So Langley gave up with this statement:
“I have brought to close the portion of the work which seemed to be specifically mine -the demonstration of the practicality of a mechanical flight. For the next stage, which is the commercial and practical development of the idea, it is probable that the world may look to others.”
Professor Langley, with all his education and years of instruction and writing on Aerodynamics gave up without ever seeing one of his airplanes achieve success. But just a few days later, same month, December, and precisely on the 17th day, Orville and Wilbur Wright –uneducated (at least they were not educated to make aircrafts), and without any funding, flew an airplane called “Flyer I” over the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and that event went into the history book as the first Airplane ever to successfully carry a man aboard.
Why I Told This Story
Professor Langley as he was giving up said: “I have brought to close the portion of the work which seemed to be specifically mine.” And what was that? He continues: “The demonstration of the practicality of a mechanical flight.” Then his recommendation, “For the next stage, which is the commercial and practical development of the idea, it is probable that the world may look to others.”
Langley’s recommendation is exactly what the school does. The classroom prepares you with the details and theory and thereafter surrenders to not being able to help you make it happen. The classroom today offers confusing and complex principles and maintain them so well even when the whole world cannot benefit from them.
The people that succeed outstandingly in producing renowned ideas and brands that have impact the world, be they educated or not, are those that go beyond where they receive educational instructions. For those who study in school, they are those who go beyond the classroom thoughts.
Think about Orville and Wilbur. They were originally bicycle repair men and later started their own company, The Wright Cycle Co. Bicycle making and marketing was to be their calling, and it was the business they were mostly knowledgeable about. One would say that they were professionals in bicycle business. But they went “beyond the classroom” to focus on a dream they created for themselves. That dream was ambiguous. It was so embarrassing that their father labeled them mad and habitual time wasters. Were they actually time wasters? That was the difference. They had a very good “Mindsight” while every other person including their immediate family members had clear eyesight.
Les Brown differentiated Eyesight and Mindsight. He said: “Eyesight means judging on what you see and what others could see. But Mindsight is judging from what your dream detects.” In this second case, only you can see, feel, and act on what you see. The Wright brothers had a good Mindsight and it propelled them to success.
Beyond the classroom is a teaching that builds around making you successful by moving ahead of school sessions. It tells you that to be successful, you must have a dream. It focuses on helping you pursue and live your dream. But it warns you that it’s hard. “Easy” is not an option.
A time came that Bishop Wright declared his two sons insane because they were building a heavier-than-air object and assume that it will fly. Although they tried to convince him, he never accepted to live with their folly. Severally, they failed. The truth is that failure can be the only way to success. Sometimes it is good to fail. The bad side of failing is if it has nothing to teach the one who failed. The lessons are usually there but it is the duty of the one failing to learn from them. The two brothers at a time decided to abandon their project for several months and continue with bicycle repairing. Neighbours laughed and concluded that they were never growing. They were thought to be building a big toy. If you were one of them, what would you have done?
May be it is now easier for you to understand the “Beyond the Classroom” concept as an idea to awaken your creativity as a student. This is because creativity is not taught at school. Your potential to success is tied inside this ability to be very creative. Life has gotten us to a point where it is hard to be rich except you create wealth by yourself or you inherit or steal it. Life has dropped us in an environment where our survival depends largely on our ability to create. Your possibilities end where your dream stops. Make a mental picture and tell yourself that it is possible. People will not see it for you so do not wait for that to happen or for people to praise you and say go ahead. You are the one to make it happen. It is time to start thinking about how to apply whatever the school is teaching you in the dream you have about yourself.
The school prepares you for exams and the labour market where you are asked to be obedient to the core. The school gives you fish and that makes you dependent almost permanently. The school will never teach you how to do the fishing yourself. The subjects and chapters in this book have been prepared to unveil certain hidden secrets that most school owners do not know how to handle while educating their students. Those secrets, for example, have kept Africa in the dark for many years. School training without the basic ideas found in this book is totally disappointing and can lead to total slavery. The truth of the matter is that the jobs are almost gone. Jobs are no longer created by the government but by individuals who go beyond the classroom. You and you alone have been blessed to give the world the next invention to make it a better place to live. This is your call. But it’s my call to help you make a commitment towards this. This is my reason for writing this book. This is my concern.
What you have read is the first chapter of my book BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: The Strangest Secret. You can get a copy of this book today if you will take a little more time to contact me. Why not review this book completely chapter by chapter in the MyBooks Section of this website