We all try to not take things for granted, I get that. The human race has been able to accomplish a lot of incredible things and sometimes those incredible things — although always incredible — start losing their perception of being incredible.
You know what I mean?
Yeah, that was a weird opening for a blog post. Ok…let me explain.
Charles F***ing Lindbergh, ya’ll.
The original baller of ballers. The guy that didn’t have to stare fear back in the face because he didn’t even let fear look at him in the first place. Fear wouldn’t dare.
I was born and raised in St. Louis and this city loves St. Louis stuff. Maybe all cities are like that, but man oh man does St. Louis love St. Louis-y things.
So, it should come to no surprise that Charles Lindbergh and his world-renowned aircraft — The Spirit of St. Louis — is woven into the local tapestry in as many ways as possible. It’s part of what you learn in school. Not just that it happened, but how it put our city on the world stage.
Still, there were a lot of facts that remained unknown to me about his amazing feat of crossing the Atlantic Ocean non-stop and solo. The more you dig into the details, the more amazing his story becomes.
Against all odds
There’s a lot to unpack here, I admit. Let’s get into it.
Did you know that The Spirit of St. Louis didn’t have a front windshield for him to look out of? I know…crazy, right? Look at the pic again. Ridiculous. But he wanted to make sure he had enough fuel for the trip so that took precedent over…you know…seeing.
Did you know that the plane was experimental and he helped design it? How about the fact that it didn’t have a fuel gauge because he thought they were unreliable?
But of all the crazy, amazing, incredible, “holy shit” things about him and the plane and the whole journey, there is one thing that speaks to his whole philosophy of keeping things simple and staying focused on what needed to be done.
Success > Comfort
He accomplished his feat (dubbed “impossible” at the time) by sacrificing comfort to achieve success. Just take a look at that thing.
Think about that for a second.
A lot of us might define success as comfort, but for him, and for this accomplishment, they were not only two separate ideas, but two separate ideas that directly contradicted one another.
He purposely sat in this rickety thing (probably even when it was new) and purposely didn’t bring what would be considered enough food.
Comfort was the enemy of success.
Between success and comfort, he knew he couldn’t have both, and he knew comfort would put him at the bottom of the goddamn ocean.
You’re going to be fine
I think the whole reason I’ve been fixated on this new bit of information is because it’s so reassuring. I don’t know where or why or how it happened, but somewhere along the way, I thought comfort and success were the same thing…or at least one could be defined by the other.
But along comes Lindbergh’s ghost to tell me that although they can mean the same thing — they are two very different ideas that can be contradicting.
No other place is this more true than starting a business
The second you’re comfortable is the beginning of the end.
This is all supposed to be hard.
You’re supposed to be uncomfortable.
It will keep you awake, focused, and hungry (literally in his case).
Whatever you’re doing out there, know that being uncomfortable doesn’t need to mean that you’re not succeeding. Actually, it might mean that you’re right where you need to be on the path to succeeding.
We can’t always see where we are in our respective journeys, but we can know where we’re going and be assured that we have enough fuel in the tank to get there.