Many people have changed the course of history in one way or another.
Most people are familiar with the story of how the Wright brothers changed the course of history when they successfully flew the first manned aircraft on December 17, 1903. Thanks to their persistence, the world has been changed forever.
Fewer people are familiar with the story of two men who were attempting the same feat a little further up the coast by the Potomac River.
In this lesser known story were two men who could have been the first in flight, had they not succumb to temporary defeat, listened to their critics and given up.
Samuel Pierpont Langley and Charles M. Manly made two failed attempts at flying a manned aircraft and gave up just 9 days before the Wright brothers experienced victory.
When I read about his story on a recent visit to the National Airforce Museum in Dayton, Ohio (well worth the visit!), I was struck by the short number of days between their quitting and the Wright Brother's victory.
What if they had stuck with it? How would the history books read differently today?
In my "mom coaching style," I gathered my kids around, read the story and then admonished them, "This is why you should never quit! You never know how close to success you really are." Langley and Manly were just 9 days short.
Before you quit:
- Have you exhausted all possibilities for success? The short answer is no. If you've woken up this morning, then there are still more possibilities for you to explore. History is replete with success stories of people who simply would not give up and found another way. Ask yourself "What else?" "What haven't I tried yet?" Be creative. Don't critique your ideas until you have a long list of every possibility. Then go through and decide which possibilities are options you can try.
- What voices are you listening to? Langley and Manly listened to the naysayers. Their critics. It was Zig Ziglar that once said, "Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember ~ the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you." Don't let your critics define you.
- What do you have more pressing to do? Langley and Manly quit. Langley subsequently retired. I guess that's okay, if that's what he wanted to do. I would venture to guess that wasn't what he really wanted to do. He still had a contribution to make as evidenced by his work he had completed to that point. I have to wonder if he went to his grave with the gnawing feeling of a life's work left undone. When he heard about the Wright brothers' victory did he think that could have been him? Live full-out, no regrets - there isn't anything more important to do than that.
As Norman Vincent Peale said, "It's always too early to quit." Just because the journey to your dream's end is hard, doesn't mean it's wrong. You never know how close to success you are, don't quit.
A coach will come alongside you with the support you need to keep going and not quit. Kaylene Mathews is the President and owner of KSMLifeCoaching LLC.
She offers both personal and group coaching services as well as PeopleMap assessments and training workshops for individuals, groups and corporate teams in the DFW area. For more information visit: http://ksmlifecoaching.com/
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