I think all of these traits define two recent heros. One is Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III who managed to land a US Airways Airbus A320 safely on the Hudson saving every single passenger.
Few people thought this was even possible. An article in Wikipedia states:
In December 2002, The Economist had quoted an expert as claiming that "No large airliner has ever made an emergency landing on water" in an article that goes on to charge, "So the life jackets ... have little purpose other than to make passengers feel better." This idea was repeated in The Economist in September 2006 in an article which reported that "in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero."For the full article click here.
Of course we all know that a wise and skillful pilot did what so called experts thought was impossible. Experts are not necessarily wise.
The transcripts have been released and I admire the calm and curt manner with which he spoke with the tower who hadn't fully grasped the situation and were trying to get him to some runway. Finally Sully simply said, "Unable." He brought to bare his flying wisdom and acumen and safely landed the plane safely in the river...seemingly impossible and not even part of the discussion from the tower. They never though of the water as an option...only runways. Sully is a wise man.
The second person is Henry Markopolos who was repeatedly rebuffed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in his efforts to blow the whistle on Bernard Madoff. In fact, Mr. Markopolos is still giving SEC tips they are are not able to determine for themselves.
Yet, Henry never gave up. He kept pressing the point and during the process even feared for his life because of the type of people and the amount of money he was dealing with. When asked how long it took him to figure out Madoff's fund was a fraud, he responded "about five minutes." He looked at the literature from Madoff's firm, noticed an impossible straight line trajectory of returns (no peaks or valleys) and concluded that the type of behavior indicated on the chart was not possible and was fraduelent. Did others not see it? They looked but didn't see.
He then investigated for about 4 hours to confirm his instant assessment and he concluded that mathematically the returns were impossible. Then he meticoulsy gathered the evidence and delivered to the Securities Exchange Commission who then refused for whatever reason (the cynic in me says corruption, the optomist says incompetence) refused to investigate it seriously.
Learning and development professionals cannot create wise individuals but we can work to provide a platform and a basis for the wisdom to grow.
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