Ralph Teetor was truly a wise man from whom we can still learn much.
If you’ve read through lists of little-known automotive history facts, you likely have come across the tidbit about a blind engineer inventing cruise control. That’s about all most know on the subject, but the life story of Ralph R. Teetor is loaded with timeless value. More than just a gimmick or a footnote in automotive history, the man put into practice several valuable principles he attributed to his career and personal success, and I would have to agree it was adhering to those ideals which helped him to push past barriers many would find impossible obstacles.
Ralph was a deeply religious man.
Raised a Christian Scientist, Ralph was taught from a young age to have faith in God and to apply himself dutifully every day. That tireless work ethic and trust that a higher power was watching out for his wellbeing allowed Ralph to literally step into the darkness every day for the rest of his life, knowing he wasn’t alone in his struggles. He easily could have sunk into nihilistic despair at the challenges of living blind from the time he was a small child. Instead, he accepted his burdens and allowed God to help make his weaknesses his strengths.
Ralph didn’t believe in being a victim.
After Ralph retired, an engineer from the Speedostat (what we know as cruise control) project asked Ralph the question many probably wanted to but were too scared to verbalize. “With all that you have been able to accomplish, what more do you think you would have done if you had been able to see?” The man probably was thinking if Ralph had the use of his eyes throughout his entire lifetime, he would have been even more accomplished and productive.
Ralph, however, didn’t agree with that implication in the least. “I probably couldn’t have done as much, because I can concentrate and you can’t.” Especially in this time of constant media flow, his point is quite salient. What more could we accomplish if we switched off all the devices and distractions, concentrating for even just a short time each day?
Read more at Gears Of Time
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