Photo by Peter Bromley on Unsplash

Ship 30 for 30

What a Spitfire pilot knew about flying (and why it matters to successful entrepreneurs)

You’ve probably never heard of him, but you have heard of the Spitfire.

Geoffrey Wellum was the youngest Spitfire pilot in WW II when he qualified, and he flew innumerable sorties over England during the Battle of Britain. His book First Light, is a great read. Boy was the nickname assigned him by his mates, because he was barely shaving. He was nine-bloody-teen years old.

After the Battle of Britain, he was posted to Malta.

Flying insane numbers of sorties every day, often very little sleep, he started experiencing severe headaches. He was finally ordered to see the doctor. Diagnosis: Severe chronic sinusitis, and Stress. The quack shoved a needle up his nose to release the trapped fluid and …..

Oh, sorry. Too much information?

He didn’t enjoy it much either. And at age 21, after 3 years’ flying Spits, he was packed off to Blighty. His war, over.

His Only Goal in life? Achieved. Done. Dusted. NEXT!


He didn’t have a Next. All he’d ever wanted to do was fly Spitfires.

I saw him interviewed on the BBC, by then in his 80’s. He said his life had been hell, spent asking, Where’s the Rewind button? Can I go back, pul-eeze?

Success is a great journey. But a terrible destination.

So, Entrepreneur …. make sure that whatever Mt Success you’re climbing …. is great fun to climb, but impossible to summit.



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David Kimbell

David Kimbell


Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.