Aiming Low and Falling Short

Space ShuttleI may be the only person in my immediate circle who doesn’t really care about the space program – who didn’t know the final shuttle flight had launched until it showed up in my Twitter stream, hours after the fact. Space stuff has just never been of interest to me.

Until I am face to face with how awesome it all is. I wrote about that when I visited the Mars lander project, and saw the immensity of what they were accomplishing. It blew me away. It inspired me to push harder and farther. It was, in the literal meaning of the word, awesome.

So this past weekend, I clicked on the link someone shared to the video below – a montage created by NPR about the early exhuberant days of the Space Shuttle.

And I wept.

I wasn’t weeping for the shuttle program or for space exploration. I was weeping to think that we have left behind the age of exploring for the sake of exploring. We have left behind the age of visionary possibility.

And we have entered the age of fixing / curing / ending / preventing as “high aspiration.”

We have entered an age of focusing squarely on our problems. We have convinced ourselves that ending something negative is the same as creating something affirmative. And that prevention is as lofty a goal as creation.

The future does not have to be an extension of the past. We can create the future we want. We do it every single day.

What it takes is aiming higher.

Aiming for the moon and beyond. Aiming at the world we DO want. Aiming beyond what the logic of our past tells us is “reasonable.” Reaching as high as we can, and then reaching higher again.

What it takes is then tethering our plans to that dream

Asking, “What favorable conditions would make that dream simply inevitable?” Asking, “What are all the cause-and-effect variables it will take to create the future we want?” (instead of tethering our plans to today, asking, “How far do we think we can reasonably go?”)

What it takes is aligning our day-to-day actions with our dreams for what is possible, and being that right now.

Instead of wishing others would be more cooperative, being more cooperative ourselves – right here now. Instead of wishing others would be more transparent, being that ourselves – right here now. Walking the talk, right here now.

We have convinced ourselves that creating the future we want is impossible. And we have convinced ourselves that if it is not impossible, then it surely will be hard.

What if it’s not? And what if the only thing standing between us and the world we want is the fact that we think it’s hard – or not possible at all?

Imagine what would have happened if 50 years ago, someone had said, “We’re going to send a man to the moon and back. And we’re going to do that in less than 10 years.”

Oh yeah. We did say that. And it happened.


Photo credit: NASA

5 Responses to Aiming Low and Falling Short

  1. Have to say well! It is cool for a amatuer (maybe) to hear another person referense space, in general terms, as “Until I am face to face with how awesome it all is”.

  2. As a wise youtube blog once said, life is not merely about decreasing the suck.

    We must also increase the awesome.

  3. Toby – thanks for your enthusiasm.

    And Gavin, that video has totally rocked my evening. Thank you so much for sharing it – I encourage everyone to click through on Gavin’s YouTube link!

    HG