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LIKE A RAGING FIRE!

Hello. My name is Charles Augustus Lindbergh … and am I EXCITED – I just became the first person to fly non-stop cross the Atlantic Ocean!!! My trusty plane, the “Spirit of St. Louis,” and I made the 3600 mile journey from New York to Paris in 33-1/2 hours. We left New York yesterday (May 20, 1927) at 7:52 am and landed in Paris just now (May 21st) – looking at my watch … 10:22 pm! Many people told me it was impossible for one man to make such a long trip by himself … and on only one tank of gas. But I had absolutely NO DOUBT I could do it. And WHY, you might ask, did I KNOW I could to it? … I can tell you in one word – PASSION! I literally had a raging fire within me that was so intense NO ONE could possibly quench it. Now you may ask … where did this passion come from(?) Well … let me tell you! It takes three “ingredients” -- VISION, HOPE and FULFILLMENT.* Permit me to explain, from my own experience –

You must have a dream (a VISION, if you will) that you have a burning desire to fulfill. Mine came from my interest and skills in flying … and an extraordinary offer, a purse of $25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop between Paris and New York, by the French businessman, Raymond Orteig! I was already excited about flying and skills acquired from barnstorming … so I thought, why not me?! The second ingredient, HOPE, comes from planning every detail and seeing how you can make your dream a reality … to formulize the steps that can and must be taken and realizing that because each step is small enough and therefore possible, your success will be virtually inevitable! Because my reputation as an ace pilot was unassailable in St. Louis, I was able to convince Harry Knight, president of the St. Louis Flying Club, to assist me in contacting and procuring the financial assistance of a number of businessmen locally (hence the name of my plane: the “Spirit of St. Louis”)! Now I needed to find the plane I envisioned – a light weight single engine plane which could fly the entire distance on just single tank of gas. Ryan Airlines of San Diego, California, took me up on my offer to build such a plane … and even agreed to construct it in two months rather than the three they said it would take! We planned together what had to be accomplished from one week and one day to the next to create what was needed. Here I must correct myself … this plane would have tanks both inside and under the wing to increase effectiveness of lift (and keep me from being caught between the gas and the engine in case of a forced landing). The wingspan would be extended to 46 feet for the extra lift needed to support 450 gallons of gas, and the engine would be a state-of-the-art 220 HP, air-cooled, 9-cylinder, Wright J-5C “Whirlwind” outfitted with a special mechanism to keep it greased the entire transatlantic flight. I already knew how to navigate over land and had just enough time to study how to navigate over water. To further conserve on weight, I would sit in a wicker chair rather than a heavy leather pilot’s seat and wear special light weight boots. Since I didn’t need them I would not take a radio or parachute, nor would my plane have gas gauges or navigation lights. My transcontinental maiden flight from California to New York, made in record time, proved the plane “flight worthy” before my transatlantic flight on May 20th! With all these steps planned and taken, there was an intense feeling of FULFILLMENT (that third ingredient of passion) … and I KNEW with all my heart, like a raging fire, that my success was inevitable!!!

A helpful companion to passion is DRIVE. Drive most often comes from knowing that your dream will benefit others outside of yourself and will live on when you are gone. Here’s a story# to illustrate -- In the summer of 1993, the rivers of the Midwest—the Mississippi, Missouri, and others—surged over levees into communities and farmlands. During this worst flooding in regional history, heroic volunteers worked to near exhaustion filling sandbags around the clock. In one instance, they were joined by a group of convicts from a boot-camp prison program in Greene County, Illinois. The convicts had been sent to help with sandbags for shoring up a levee. If it failed, the little town of Inota on the Iowa-Illinois border faced destruction. The criminals worked with furious passion and energy. They refused to sleep. They wouldn’t leave the sandbag brigades even to eat. Still, the levee gave way and the town, with its two hundred houses, was lost. Now the convicts wept openly in frustration and compassion. Why had they suddenly become good Samaritans? Because after dealing in drugs, violence, and destruction, they had a positive purpose in life, perhaps for the first time. They had a mission to save a town. Observing people who cared for each other working as one for the same goal, they began to care.

* Resource: Mentored by a Millionaire, by Steven Scott, pp. 260-263
# from Empires of the Mind, by Denis Waitley, p. 137

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