Most of us don’t member 47 years later, July 20, 1969. But who could forget Neil Armstrong’s words ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’?
We learned a new word then, to describe high aspirations, incredible achievement: moonshot.
What’s your moonshot?
A goal, challenge or project – or fear to overcome, monkey on your back? Moonshot for me is a reminder of how a political policy statement can stir nations, industries, innovation and science.
Forget for the moment that the cold-war and tensions of USA v. USSSR drove it – remember that most of the moonshot science had not been invented then the plan was hatched.
But the goal was set, that journey begun …
For most of us our goal need not be as bold. We may get stalled, stuck or thought-blocked because we haven’t figured out all the ‘how to’ yet.
Figure out the ‘how to’ along the journey – but there will be no journey unless we point ourselves somewhere.
Watching news lately, during this silly season (a.k.a. US presidential politics), it strikes me that we need new moonshots. Not ‘who did doping in a previous Olympics?’, but ‘let’s cure cancer’. Not a ‘who will be the least-bad leader of the free world?’, but ‘let’s cure cancer’. Not a ‘which silicon valley whiz kid will be the next billionaire?’, but ‘let’s cure cancer’.
And when we talk about cancer – each time I chat with someone in or near ‘the system’, it strikes me that the moonshot required isn’t so much curing cancer as it is curing dysfunction in health care delivery systems. Perhaps that’s judgmental. I don’t mean to ignore or dismiss great breakthroughs in science, but it seems insane to me that the lag between diagnosis and treatment is delayed by ‘wait for a few weeks until the cancer agency calls you an appointment to discuss treatment’ as my recently diagnosed friend was told. He’s resigned, has no choice – has to wait. I don’t see this as a moonshot-scale problem, but it seems to be a few decades overdue for a cure. Fixing an administrative bureaucratic mind-numbing system that lets cancer grow shouldn’t be a scheduling problem but an ‘emergency-grade’ medical one with a simple solution.
Am I crazy? If I go to the dry-cleaner, I can get my cleaning by 5PM tomorrow. If I go to a pharmacy, I can get my prescription filled while I shop for a few minutes. But, get cancer – and this is ‘after they are sure you have cancer’, ‘someone will call you in a few weeks’ seems such a ridiculous symptom of a massive problem. I don’t think this is a provincial or state or even a national problem – it is a global humanity one. I doubt it requires a moonshot scale solution – but maybe some of that great mass of money thrown at cancer each year, maybe the researchers should talk to the drycleaners and pharmacists – and each other. A solution might emerge. I’d be over the moon. So would my friend.
Let’s cure cancer, OK, and then we can get on with more moonshots …
And .. a P.S.: TO CALGARY AND AREA READERS, psst … want to have some fun? Tomorrow evening, Thursday July 21st, I’m hosting an event: Pathway to Mastery. It’s a FREE event (6:30 – 9:30) and fun-raiser at the Cardel Theatre in Quarry Park featuring seven magnificent speakers – including this year’s District Speaking Champs and this years’ Champion Joanne Smith who will be heading off to Washington soon to compete in the World Championships of Public Speaking – for more details go to: as of last night we have 45 of 155 seats left and would love to fill them.RSVP if you are coming.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk with Gusta: 13C/56F, sunny, gentle breeze – Gusta and I did the long-loop, such a refreshing start to the day. Traffic noise humming, not everyone is on vacation …
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