R J Mitchell was a revolutionary aircraft designer.
In 1931 his plane won the Schneider Trophy for Britain.
This was an international competition only open to seaplanes.
Mitchell made the first seaplane capable of 400mph.
He developed this into a revolutionary new fighter design.
He wanted to call it ‘The Shrew’.
He felt that name encapsulated all the qualities that made his plane a world-beater.
And his plane was indeed a world-beater.
The RAF began manufacturing it just in time for World War Two.
But the RAF didn’t want to call it ‘The Shrew’.
They changed the name to The Spitfire.
Mitchell was outraged, he couldn’t believe they’d call his plane something so stupid.
When he heard about it, he said “Just the sort of bloody silly name they would choose.”
Mitchell couldn’t understand why anyone would think Spitfire was a better name than Shrew.
It’s often like that.
When we come up with an idea, we just can’t believe any change could be anything but a mistake.
Ian Fleming worked in The Secret Service before he wrote the James Bond novels.
He knew exactly what spies were like.
Suave, sophisticated, cultured.
So when the first novel was made into a movie, he knew exactly the sort of person they should cast.
They offered the part of James Bond to James Mason.
Contractual difficulties stopped him playing the role so it was offered to Rex Harrison.
When Rex Harrison couldn’t do it, it was offered to David Niven.
David Niven couldn’t fit it in with his schedule, so it was offered to Trevor Howard.
Trevor Howard didn’t seem able to do it either.
So it was offered to Cary Grant.
But Cary Grant couldn’t find time to do it.
Eventually the part of James Bond went to an actor who wasn’t very well known at all, Sean Connery.
Ian Fleming hated Sean Connery for the part.
“That fucking truck driver?” he said.
He thought Connery was nothing like Bond “Dreadful, simply dreadful.”
Fleming, like all of us, couldn’t see any change to his original vision as anything but a mistake.
But sometimes it’s better to keep an open mind.
In the World Cup in 1966, at full time England and Germany had drawn, 2 – 2.
They had to play extra time to decide the winner.
Everyone was exhausted after playing flat out for an hour and a half.
But England scored, to go ahead 3 – 2.
All they had to do to win was hold on.
Just don’t let the Germans get a goal.
All the players were dropping.
They just wanted it to be over, but the Germans didn’t.
They got the ball for a final attack.
They were rushing into the English half.
But Bobby Moore took the ball of them.
Geoff Hurst was thinking “Kick it as hard as you can, right out of the ground. Do anything to waste time.”
But Moore didn’t do that.
He calmly passed the ball upfield to Geoff Hurst in attack.
Hurst got the ball and thought “Now I’m going to do what Moore should have done. I’m going to kick it with everything I’ve got, right out of the ground.”
And with his last ounce of strength he kicked the ball as hard as he could.
But he miss-kicked it.
And it went like a rocket, but not where he wanted it to go.
It didn’t go out of the ground.
It went straight into the German goal instead.
And England won 4 – 2.
A change to your original idea isn’t always a bad thing.