No GPS for Lindbergh

Although flying from New York to Paris is no big deal today, Charles Lindbergh flew his 3,600 mile, 33 1/2 hour flight in 1927 without a telegraph, radio or Global Positioning System (GPS). In his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh packed a few sandwiches, a couple canteens of water, 451 gallons of gas and a few maps. Several men had attempted to fly the same distance as Lindbergh, but failed only weeks before he made his record-setting flight. Lindbergh made a seemingly impossible journey come true.

In order to maximize gas mileage, Lindbergh traveled as lightly as he could. He wore a light jacket compared to a traditional leather pilot’s jacket, which made him more vulnerable to the elements. He used a thinner seat in which to pilot the aircraft, which compromised his comfort. Since he opted to travel solo, he had The Spirit of St. Louis built as a one seat airplane. If he fell asleep, he could crash in the Atlantic. Lindbergh also excluded night flying equipment and a parachute, which sacrificed his safety. Some could argue that Lindbergh literally bet his life on flying from NY to Paris.

Charles Lindbergh proved to the world that someone can succeed without needing to use luxuries. Lindbergh did not use luxuries in 1927 or electronic navigational devices.

How many times have we complained that our desktop or laptop is running slowly? How many of us have said that our office equipment is not the greatest? After what Lindbergh endured with his record flight, just how big do your problems really seem?

Here are some of the great things that Lindbergh taught us:

1. The Spirit of St. Louis was designed and built in 60 days

Many of us complain that we don’t have enough time to do things. A single-engine airplane that was going to be flown across the Atlantic Ocean, which was never done before, was built in two months. Lindbergh, Donald Hall and a crew of 35 other men worked on the airplane. Hall worked an average of 90 hours per week. At one point, Hall worked on the plane for 36 and 20 consecutive hours. Many of us think that life was so much easier in yesteryear. History provides the contrary.

Lindbergh knew his time was limited. A $25,000 prize was offered to the first one who could fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Others had perished attempting to set Lindbergh’s record. A few weeks prior to Lindbergh’s start of his flight from New York, a couple of Frenchmen had died attempting to fly from Paris to New York. Charles Lindbergh was determined enough to have a plane built in two months and fly the plane over the Atlantic Ocean. How determined are we in a time crunch? Although we may not feel the same pressure as Lindbergh did when he attempted to set a flying record, we still have situations where more time would be needed.

Are we asking for help like Lindbergh did? Lindbergh’s dream may have been impossible without the help of Donald Hall and the 35 men that built the Spirit of St. Louis. Asking for help is no disgrace. If asking for help was good enough for Lindbergh, it can be good enough for us.

2. "Why shouldn't I fly from New York to Paris?”

Lindbergh was quoted as saying, "Why shouldn't I fly from New York to Paris? ...I have more than four years of aviation behind me, and close to two thousand hours in the air. I've barnstormed over half of the forty-eight states. ...Why am I not qualified for such a flight?" Lindbergh put possibility out there for himself and did it!!

What is keeping us from thinking the same way? There is no reason why we cannot make a trip of our own.

3. Lindbergh did not compromise his goals

Initially, a company offered Lindbergh a plane for $15,000, but the company’s president wanted to choose the pilot and Lindbergh was not the president’s choice to fly it. Another company offered to build Lindbergh a plane for $6,000. Ultimately, Lindbergh accepted the deal and within 60 days, the plane was completed.

How often have we compromised our goals? Many of us have always wanted to write a book, an article, a poem, prose, fiction or nonfiction. Unfortunately for many of us, we have settled for what we are doing instead of making our dream of what we could be doing happen. What is stopping us from making that dream happen? We give all kinds of reasons as to why we cannot devote a few minutes a day to obtaining our goals. Fortunately, goals do not have to happen overnight. Only three percent of the population writes down their career dreams, goals and aspirations. How many of us are writing down our dreams?

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.” - Goethe

What goals do you have and how determined are you to attain them? What goals have you accomplished that initially seemed impossible? Although the magnitude of your goals may not seem as impossible as Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, they are still your goals. How many of your goals have you compromised and how many goals have you achieved? Lindbergh did not settle for anything less than his goal of flying across the Atlantic. Although some of your goals may initially seem impossible, you also should not settle for anything less than achieving what is important to you.


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