Maybe you are starting something arising from some brilliant idea hatched just minutes ago. More likely that something has been gestating awhile, revisited from time to time, parked and gathering dust like a derelict car at parking lot edge, completely without momentum, until that moment of execution when it is time for liftoff.
The term moonshot, moon-shot or moon shot – coined from John F. Kennedy’s commitmentto have NASA send men to the moon, not because it was easy but because it was very hard.
A mere child of 11 then, I don’t remember that announcement. We’ve all heard its message, benefitted from results (think Velcro, Tang, heat pumps to name an early few …)and 50 years ago this weekend – the moon landing – high drama on live television, Sunday July 20, 1969. I remember, as clearly as I remember yesterday, not to boast about my memory as much at to recognize lasting impact. My parent’s home had a square living room with TV on south wall, couch on the north and chairs around the room, but there we were – my parents, girlfriend and I – standing in a semi-circle, an arm’s-length from that TV as Walter Cronkite narrated the moon landing.
But moonshot has come to symbolize gargantuan impossibility more than possibility, in most people’s minds as term for big dreams ordinary people cannot possibly achieve but, what the heck, let's take a shot …
I take a more optimistic view of what separates possible from impossible. I believe too often we shy away from things because they are hard, costly, long-haul projects with thinnest possibility of success, even if we have assembled all the skills and resources required. We live in a world where we celebrate success while fearing instant failure …
Optimists believe the possible, ambitious ideals, doing good while doing big, working hard for worthy goals, about not giving up when things get hard, digging in instead. Moonshot defined by Kennedy was something which could only be contemplated by someone with power to wield. It wasn’t just his idea to go to the moon – it was mission to engage an entire country in believing they could, no matter the risk or cost. To me it’s a bit like looking at climate change, cleaning up oceans or getting the Calgary Flames to win the Stanley Cup next year – these things look impossible, but we know down deep they are not.
Musk and Bezos weren’t alive in 1962 – and they’ve doing moonshots. They’ve done moonshots and they are doing more. Grand ideas and bold enterprise often become big-dollar things, but first they were the big ideas and bold dreams of people who started with little but they had conviction to go with their dreams …
We all should. We all can.
Sometimes high achievement isn’t necessary but it is always an option worth considering because it is good, because it is there and because we can.
What is your big dream, your big problem to solve or game-changing life-affirming ambition?
If not defined yet, or right now, how about a smaller nearer goal?