Goal Achievement – Full Steam Ahead!

"Gordon Bryan" "goal achievement"In a previous article I wrote about what we can learn from the invention of the steam engine. In this article I’m going to take that goal achievement point a bit further…

There’s a link to that previous article at the bottom, but it basically covered the invention of the Thomas Newcomen atmospheric steam engine, by Thomas Newcomen. Imagine the coincidence for it to be invented by someone with the same name!

Anyhoo, that invention kick started the industrial revolution in 1712 which changed the world. It was so innovative and so widely accepted that it held sway for 50 odd years.

In 1763, a model of this engine used to teach students was sent to be repaired, sent to a man named James Watt. Watt set about repairing the model, but it soon occurred to him that he could tweak the engineering to improve it.

Without getting too technical, he worked out that the operation to condense the steam could be done in a separate chamber as opposed to the same chamber in the Newcomen version. This would make the whole thing much more efficient, making it smaller and needing less coal to power it.

Watt’s business partner Matthew Bolton had the idea of taking out a patent, and requiring anyone who used it to pay them a percentage of any energy cost saving.

That made them rich. Very rich.

That’s because although people hated paying the commissions, they knew that the energy savings were still well worth it financially. This engine really got the revolution working, because many machines could now be powered by the same engine, which led to the rise of the factory.

The workers got a steady wage, so had money to spend on the goods which were now cheaper to buy, thanks to the lower energy cost to make them en masse. As well as Watt and Bolton getting rich, it made Great Britain rich too.

In the same way that Newcomen’s engine had held sway for 50 years, so did the Watt version, but it was inevitable that someone would come along with a new development.

That someone was Richard Trevithick. With the help of his blacksmith father in law, he came up with a cylindrical container strong enough to hold high pressure steam, meaning the steam pressure itself was strong enough to power the pistons of an engine, totally bypassing the need for a condenser.

If that wasn’t enough, he also worked out that if he heated the water via a tube *in* the water, not only was the efficiency ramped up further, but it was something that could now be put on wheels.

That meant powered travel in 1804, leading to the railway, and the rest as they say, is history!

I was lapping all this information up when I watched the documentary on TV, I found it fascinating, and it rams home some points I make over and over about goal achievement and self improvement…

Sometimes you just don’t need to come up with anything new, you can simply use a technique someone else has worked out, follow along in the footsteps of others. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it can lead to some amazing life adventures and achievements.

Sometimes though, you *can* come up with someone that shakes the accepted ideas, that pushes boundaries. It’s well over 300 years since the Newcomen engine, but does that mean invention is dried up, that anything that can be invented, has been?

Of course not. New inventions come along all the time – some of them may fade away without lasting impact, while some of them will become the new standard, in the same way the Watt engine overtook the Newcomen, and Trevithick’s overtook Watt‘s.

Analysis plus action, equals achievement. A powerful formula indeed.

Look to your own goals – will you need to push barriers, create new frontiers, or will it be enough to add your own personality to methods already out there and established? I’d love to hear from you, telling me which option will get you moving full steam ahead!

‘Til next time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Here’s that previous article – Goal Achievement – Building Up A Head Of Steam!

Do leave a comment!

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  • Hi Gordon,

    Although I enjoy creativity, I LOVE Leverage and Synergy. Like tools and machines use leverage, people can leverage the knowledge, contacts, and resources of other people.
    This is the essence of networking and network marketing. Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM).

    As for “re-inventing the wheel,” I am satisfied to roll along on the wheels that have been invented by others, as long as I am in the driver’s seat…

    • Hi Buddy,
      Oh yes, the knowledge of other people, in the present and not just historical, can be huge in your advancement.
      Networking with others in your field is always worth the effort!

  • You’ve presented very interesting information leading to a very pertinent metaphor! Yes, there is nothing new under the sun; and each of us can add our own spin on what exists to improve it. You just have to be open to see how you can make your own mark.

    • Hi Lianda,
      I love hanging the same old points I make over and over, on different stories as I come across them. To me, the stories give a much better way of showing the points in action.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Hey Gordon,

    Wonderful post, buddy! I love the little history lesson, it’s something I think that I learned in school way back, but had forgotten. It is interesting stuff, though.

    It’s interesting, too, how you liken this to goal achievement. I think there’s plenty of room in the world for both types of people: the ones who push barriers and break new frontiers and the ones who put their own stamp on existing methods. But whichever one we choose to be, we have to do SOMETHING! We can all throw something into the mix and make a difference, but unless we actually do something about it then who will know? Maybe we can even be both! But, just like the great inventors and innovators, we have to get out there and do something about it!

    • Hi Glenn,
      Oh yes, action is the key! None of those inventions would have appeared if the ideas ahd just stayed in their heads. Or even as far as writing them down! They had to get physical and start knocking bits of metal around, and it’s the same with goal achievement, real action in the real world is something which many people simply miss out!

  • Wow this post gots the Robdog howling and scratching around pretty good.There’s some killer info here. The parts about the goal setting is awesome. Food for thought…If no goals are set, how do you know what kind of progress your making and where your at! It’s a good blog post and goal setting should be really implemented in the business world.I really like your blog, even tho your fighting with the shark!lol
    Here’s some food for thought ,Have you heard about the self propelled or self running generators that got cooking. These will power up the homestead and the power companys by LAW have to buy back what you don’t use! Now that’s something to howl about! I like the blog setup you got a lot of goods to it!

    • Hi Robdog,
      It does seem odd that many people bypass the actual goal setting – it’s a crucial step!
      Here in the UK we have solar panles to go on roofs, and thepower companies will buy back any surplus. Mind you, I think the government is getting rid of the tax break they used to give for it.
      Thanks for stopping by, and your kind words,

    • Ha! I was about to answer that some inventions weren’t built op developments of others, and then you threw nature into the mix – I like it!
      I did enjoy watching the documentaries to follow the line of invention.