Lessons to be Learned!
22 September 2017
I heard Sir James Dyson on BBC Radio 2 this week talking about a group of young people who had started an engineering training programme at his organisation. Chris Evans interviewed him briefly and I could sense Sir James’ energy and passion for technology, engineering and innovation. I think Sir James was probably talking about a group of degree apprentices but it wasn’t abundantly clear. However, whatever learning programme they are on, these 15 young people have been selected from thousands of applicants. Undoubtedly, they are very lucky and I wish them all the very best with their future careers.
Sir James mentioned three things that struck me. Firstly, he had no idea he wanted to get into engineering as a boy, and it was only as opportunities and experiences opened up to him that his interest and enthusiasm for design, engineering and problem solving became apparent. This is an important message for young people. We are often guided into jobs by others who may not really know us as well as we know ourselves. Don’t get stuck in a career you don’t enjoy. Follow your dreams and persevere. Sir James revealed that it wasn’t until he was about 48 that he managed to pay off his significant debts. Never give up!
Next, Sir James, like so many successful people, believes in the power of failure. He said on the radio, “You learn nothing from success, but failure is exciting.” This is a sentiment that has been promoted by many people over the ages in one guise or another. Among the famous people who share Sir James’ ethos are Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, J K Rowling, C S Lewis, Charlie Chapin; the list goes on and on. So, here’s another one from me – don’t fear failure itself, fear your failure to try instead.
Finally, it was clear that Sir James isn’t simply content with his success. He is driven to moving ever onwards. He told Chris about his latest exciting project on batteries, into which he is expecting to invest at least £1 billion. Wow! I love the fact that he is still looking for the next breakthrough, that he is still willing to take enormous risk, and he is so confident in his team of excellent engineers that he’s willing to invest so substantially.
Several lessons to be learned, I think.