“History remembers only the brilliant failures and brilliant successes.” -- Randolph S. Bourne.
So many people go through life like it’s an obstacle course where pylons and pillars and mud pits must be ducked, dodged and climbed over. But honestly, why be one of them? Kick over that pylon! Shoulder check that pillar until it topples! And yes, sludge your way through that mud pit. Because what’s the use in being safe? If there’s one thing that all of these famous trailblazers can teach us, it’s this: go big or go home!
This aviation trailblazer was the first-ever woman to fly a plane solo across the Atlantic. Although she disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe, her life and legacy truly ended on a high note because she was doing exactly what she wanted: following her passion and fulfilling a lifelong dream. Like Amelia Earhart, we should follow our bliss and do everything we want to do in life without fear.
The father of the motor vehicle changed the world as we know it. Not only was Ford a technological innovator (he also pioneered the technique of mass production), he was also an excellent businessman who cared about fair wages for his employees. Henry Ford always thought big picture, and we should, too.
The man that needs no introduction. This brilliant inventor and businessman made computer nerds genuinely cool. (Well, most of them. Sorry, Bill Gates!) When the company that he helped build pulled the rug out from under him, Jobs persevered and found his way back to the top, eventually becoming the very recognizable face of Apple and the personal computer revolution. (When life hands you lemons, make Apple juice?) Oh, and you’re probably reading this on a machine that Jobs helped create. No big deal.
You may never have heard of this botanist, but she may well be the most inspiring person on this list. Jeanne Baret was so passionate about science that she disguised herself as a man in the 1760s in order to do the research and fieldwork that was so important to her. She and her lover, Philibert Commerson, collected over 6,000 specimens of plantlife together. Talk about overcoming adversity to get what you want! A South American vine, the Solanum Baretiae, was recently named in Baret’s honour.
John Armstrong Howard
John Armstrong Howard was born in Winnipeg and competed in the 1912 summer Olympics in track and field. What’s so groundbreaking about that? Howard is widely considered to be first black athlete to ever represent Canada. Howard’s legacy continued in a very real way after his glory days were over; Howard’s grandson was famous Olympic sprinter and recipient of the Order of Canada, Harry Jerome.
This utterly brilliant scientist, anthropologist and primatologist is the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzee behaviour, having dedicated most of her life to studying them in the wild. She is also a wildlife conservationist, having founded the Jane Goodall Institute to this end. When someone is single-mindedly dedicated to something and becomes an expert in their field or niche, amazing things can be set into motion.