Because others have more or better opportunities doesn’t mean you’re without your own opportunities. Success requires that you take advantage of what you have available to you. Don’t get distracted by your disadvantages. What others do is nothing more than noise holding you back from doing what you must to become a success.
We can forgive if you think you need massive funding and a large organization to become a success. Most of the startup success stories we hear involve VC funding. But these small companies are hardly upstarts. In funding them, the VC brain trust picked them to win. And that brain trust gives them every opportunity to do so. But does that mean you’ll never do great things without similar backing?
The Wright Brothers
We’ve all heard the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. But in case you don’t know it here it is. In 1903, the Wright Brothers took the airplane they invented to an open space bout 4 miles south of Kitty Hawk, NC. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers flew that plane about 120 feet at 6.8 mph.
This achievement isn’t impressive by today’s standards. But it was a historic event because it was the first flight of a manned, powered, heavier-than-air plane. As you know, that was a great achievement.
More incredible than the flight itself were the circumstances under which it happened.
Samuel P. Langley’s Advantages
At the time, the Wright Brothers had several competitors in the race for manned flight. The most significant was Samuel Pierpont Langley.
What made Langley such a formidable competitor? Yes, he was smart. Langley was no slouch when it came to aviation. He had two successful unmanned flights under his belt.
But what made Langley the odds on favorite to win the race was that he had $50,000 in U.S. Government funding behind him. That kind of money (remember this was the early years of the 1900s) opens up many opportunities.
And what did the Wright Brothers have? They were self-taught engineers who gained their mechanical skills working on printing presses and building bicycles. They also didn’t have much money. Their first successful airplane, the Wright Flyer, cost them less than $1,000 to build.
Why the Wright Brothers Were the First to Fly
The Wright Brothers were at a massive disadvantage compared to Langley.
Yet, despite Langley’s advantages, the Wright Brothers succeeded where Langley failed.
One reason is motivation. Fame and the desire to invent something to put him on par with Edison and other inventors drove Langley. The desire to conquer flight drove the Wright Brothers. The Wrights were less driven by fame and more by the desire to achieve.
The Wright Brothers understood the value of personal responsibility. They didn’t look at Langley’s advantages and complain. Doing so would have ensured their failure before they started. Instead, they took what was available to them and made it to work.
Fixate on the opportunities you have, not the ones you don’t have
The lesson here is that there will almost always be someone with more opportunities than you. But that shouldn’t be a reason not to try.
It’s easy to get distracted by all the reasons why you won’t succeed. You don’t have enough money. You don’t have the right backers. You don’t have the proper education.
The reality is, all the reasons you use to justify not trying are all noise. Your disadvantages may mean that you have to work a little smarter and a little harder. But they don’t guarantee you’ll fail. The only thing that guarantees your failure is not trying.
Despite the craziness of 2020, this is the most fabulous time in history to be alive. Don’t let the corporate media and politicians tell you otherwise.
Technology has made it so you can learn almost anything and start your own business. Often times for little to no investment.
Don’t focus on the opportunities you don’t have. Instead, jump on the opportunities in front of you.
And remember your opportunities compound. When you take advantage of one, you create three new ones. Don’t let them slip past you.
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