Yesterday marked the anniversary of when Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first successful powered flight, thus changing history. In recent years, I’ve become more and more fascinated by the brothers who grew up just down the road from where I did. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Kitty Hawk, where the flight was made (it was an awe inspiring moment for me, comparable to visiting Athens, Greece). I’ve visited their original bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, as well as Hoffman Prairie where they experimented with flight. The brothers were truly geniuses who revolutionized the world. But they couldn’t have done it without Charlie Taylor (the third person in the above picture).
Now I know what many of you are thinking: “Who in the world is Charlie Taylor?”
Taylor was a friend of the brothers who they hired to manage their bicycle shop when they were running experiments. He wasn’t an aeronautical innovator like the brothers. He wasn’t a leading engineer of the day. He didn’t even have a college degree (neither did the brothers).
So why was he so instrumental in the history of flight? And why do you and I need Charlie Taylor’s in our life?
Taylor was trusted – It’s easy to forget that the Wright’s weren’t the only ones trying to conquer flight at the turn of the century. There were several other prominent scientists and inventors who were trying their hand at aviation. As such, the Wright’s had to be particularly protective of their progress and discoveries. They knew they had something valuable, and they didn’t want it stolen from them.
Taylor was the only person outside of the family they trusted to assemble, repair, and work on their flier. He had unprecedented access, and easily could have sold that information to someone for quite a bit of money.
But he didn’t.
We all need someone we can trust in our lives. Someone who is able to see our successes, as well as our failures. Taylor saw the Wright mess up time and time again. If you don’t have someone who you trust to see you at your worst, you will always need to be “good enough”, even though that isn’t possible. You need people you trust to succeed in life.
Taylor filled in gaps – The Wright Brothers were incredible in many ways: intelligent, astute, and hard working. But they couldn’t do everything. They had an aging father to care for, a business to run, experiments to conduct, and eventually sales to negotiate.
I don’t care how ambitious you are – you need help. Whether your goal is to be the next Warren Buffet or a good spouse, you need people who help you. You only have so much energy, attention, and motivation in you. Eventually, you will need someone to help you stay focused, see what you can’t, and pick up the slack.
Taylor traveled with the brothers to Europe to help perform demonstration, broker sales deals, and repair their most valuable possession – the Wright Flier. He was an invaluable member of the people who conquered powered flight.
Make no mistake, you need people in your life. You need people who can help you. God intended for us to live in community. People are supposed to make us better. You will need to do some work to find the right people.
Know your goals.
Know who God made you to be.
And find your Charlie Taylor.
I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.