The Power of Observation

In the book “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough, there is a great example demonstrating the power of observation.  The Wright Brothers credited with successfully flying the first manned operative airplane, were able to succeed because they came up with a fixed/warped wing and rudder system.  The story behind how the brothers, mainly Wilbur could design such a system came about by reading, but mostly through observation.

Before the first successful flight, manned gliders were steered perhaps a better word would be guided by the pilot shifting his weight.  The brothers assumed right off the bat that for man to fly simply and securely for long distances that something more mechanical must be designed.  The brothers read nearly every book published on manned flight and on the flight of birds.  And in the brothers very little spare time, they personally observed the bird in flight.  It was through this observation that the fixed/warped wing and rudder system was designed.  They noticed the bird did not shift its weight when it wished to turn, dive, and rise in altitude, it simply adjusted it wings.  They would warp the back of their wings, the body weight of the bird was not used, the wings were used for every action.

If not for observation, the Wright Brothers may not have created the first successful manned airplane, and design a system that is still used and improved upon today.  I am sure that somebody would have observed the bird in flight and came up with a working airplane eventually, but for me the story is critical.  While the brothers would be the first to tell you that “action” is required to learn, they would also be the first tell you that “observation” is essential to learning.

With this, I would like to share a quick thought by asking questions and leaving the answers up to you.  What if the brothers decided to observe something differently other than birds in flight, something that was a waste of time?  What are you observing?  Do the things that you observe add value to your life in any way, or are they knowingly of little importance to your life?

I believe that if these questions are taken seriously, and answered honestly.  That time will seem more important than just something that is spent unwisely observing things that do not add value to anyone’s life.


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