On a plane bound for New York, the flight attendant approached a blonde sitting in the first class section and requested that she move to coach since she did not have a first class ticket. The blonde replied, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to New York, and I’m not moving.” Not wanting to argue with a customer, the flight attendant asked the co-pilot to speak with her. He went to talk with the woman, asking her to please move out of the first class section. Again, the blonde replied, “I’m blonde, I’m beautiful, I’m going to New York, and I’m not moving.” The co-pilot returned to the cockpit and asked the captain what he should do. The captain said, “I’m married to a blonde, and I know how to handle this.” He went to the first class section and whispered in the blonde’s ear. She immediately jumped up and ran to the coach section mumbling to herself, “Why didn’t anyone just say so.” Surprised, the flight attendant and the co-pilot asked what he said to her that finally convinced her to move from her seat. The pilot replied, “I told her the first class section wasn’t going to New York.”
Today, with technological advancement of GPS right from our cars or phones, youth don’t know what maps are and they hardly are aware of what a compass even is. Back in the eighteenth century such luxuries were not available. In fact we had a world-wide obstacle – what was known as “the longitude problem”; the thorniest scientific dilemma had puzzled us for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives and the increasing fortunes of nations hung on finding a solution.
One man, John Harrison, in complete opposition to the scientific community, dared to imagine a mechanical solution–a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. The scientific quest taken by Harrison in his forty-year obsession to build his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer, is described in Dava Sobel’s award-winning book entitled “Longitude”.
We all need to learn the importance of knowing exactly where we are going. This is especially true in business. Not knowing where we are going can get us in trouble. Knowing the direction is the first step in getting to where we need to be. Beyond seeing where we are headed, another important lesson can be gleaned from the determination of John Harrison. He persevered for forty years – in spite of what all the other scientists insisted. His story is a great example of never giving up even when everyone else does.
In order for growth to happen here, we will need to have a real sense of direction and a desire to see a brighter, stronger economic future in Tama County.