Breakthroughs are achieved by going beyond the obvious

During the World War II, American armed forces were constantly researching how to make breakthrough improvements in-order to become victorious.

The following two examples of breakthroughs will enlighten us as to how to move beyond the obvious.

In the first case, American experts would analyze the aircrafts returning from enemy territory flying operations, where the enemy aircrafts guns bullets had hit, so they could strengthen those parts of the aircraft to make them resilient to enemy attack. During one of the discussions, one wise analyst said, by looking at the bullet holes of returning aircrafts only, we may not achieve breakthroughs in improving the aircraft designs, as the aircrafts have returned, what we need to do is also to study somehow, the aircrafts that didn’t make it back and crashed, because those aircrafts that crashed, will reveal the real design weaknesses.

In the second case, American tanks gained an ill repute that they catch fire too easily, compared to German and Russian tanks. On deeper analyses what was understood is that American tanks were better designed for the American soldiers inside the tank to escape in case it was hit, where as German tanks and Russian tanks were relatively ill-designed and often when they were hit the German and Russian soldiers occupying their tanks couldn’t escape and would perish while their tanks burnt. They would not live to tell their tales. Whereas the American soldiers who could escape would then see their tanks burning and report that the tank burnt, leading to a false perception that American tanks catch fire easily.

Similarly, in our work lives and personal lives, we need to understand and not jump to shallow conclusions. It is ironical as how very often many of us are discontent with our lives because of our faulty assumptions, observations leading to faulty conclusions. Instead of being happy with our situations and making efforts to make it even better, often we become unhappy with other wise happy situations, become cynical and end up becoming worse off.

I have witnessed many situations where I and many others have created a mess out of what was otherwise good and made it bad.

Let us aspire to become wiser, and not fall to the temptations of shallow assumptions, observations and resulting shallow conclusions, and instead achieve success through well thought assumptions, keener observations, and resulting breakthroughs in life.

The following video of Manoj, is inspirational as how a young child of fourteen, losing his father who had a scrap business, inherited his father’s business and went on to provide for his family and educate himself at the same time.