I wrote this on my way to Atlanta last summer...
Every time I fly I think how amazing it is that we even have the option to do so. When the engines roar and I feel the rumble of the tires speeding over the asphalt, then when the plane lifts off the ground ascending into the the air in what feels like slow motion, I think about the Wright Brothers. Because of them, and the many men who inspired them, I can hop on a plane and be almost anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. These men had the courage to use their imagination and pursue their dreams of flying.
On a plane as I'm peeking though the window admiring the little patches of green and ribbons of highway, I try to picture Wilbur and Orville Wright explaining their ideas to others. Although they had strong conviction about the possibility of flight and tons of aeronautics research from the pioneers that came before them, I can't help but think about the lack of support they probably got from the people in their communities.
Think about it, it's the tail end of the Industrial Revolution. Bikes, trains, horses, and steamboats are the major sources of transportation. People are just getting hipped to the idea of an automobile. That was incredible enough. But flying? When people saw these two men in the middle of a field "playing" with mechanical wings trying to fly I'm sure they thought the brothers had lost their minds.
But that's what we creatives, innovators, and influencers do; we do lose our minds — in a world of possibility. We look for what the world needs and use our imaginations to change it (for the better I hope). Like, Geoffrey Canada who wanted to see a school that helped every child in his Harlem neighborhood attend college; he opened Harlem Children's Zone. Or Robert L. Johnson who wanted to see more positive representations of African Americans in the media; he launched BET. Despite what you may think of the network now, it's original premise had great intentions, and was quite bold and courageous for the early 80's. I'm sure they both had a lot of people saying it couldn't be done and that they would fail, but Canada and Johnson could only see the very opposite. [[read on]]