Apollo 11 – Ripple Effect
I was reading the latest issue of the Smithsonian magazine and found the Apollo 11 article fascinating. As a small child, in 1969, when Apollo and its crew landed on the moon I was always fascinated by NASA and mankind’s desire to travel in space. President Kennedy was the driving force behind Nasa and the Apollo missions, but it wasn’t as much for the discoveries on the moon and putting humans there, but more of a race against Russia. Kennedy deeply wanted the US to beat the Russian’s in the space race and he was willing to throw any amount of money to the agency to achieve it. President Kennedy set a goal of the US putting people on the moon before 1970, which was accomplished. Unfortunately, Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, so he never got to see his dream become a reality for our country. What I didn’t realize was this space race that we were in had many benefits that paved the way for our technological advancements today! When Kennedy set all of this in motion none of the needed technology was available at that time to execute a manned space flight. It took the best scientists, mathematicians and engineers to envision and create the technology to sent people into space, land them on the moon and get them back home! Many scientists and politicians, including Ike, were against the space race. But this grand almost unfathomable goal forced companies to make better computer chips, faster computers, better communication, food for space, launch methods, capsules, space vehicles and space suits! Today none of this seems beyond reach because of the incredible men and women at NASA that made a dream a reality and put people on the moon in 1969 – just as President Kennedy had promised the world. My point is this, in most goals, projects and big ideas we have in life we are trying to achieve one thing that matters to us. Maybe the completion of a book, a new song, an album, poetry, a painting, sculpture or something impactful to us. What we do not typically consider are the extended benefits that become a reality by us completing the first goal. It is like a chain of events or the act of dropping a rock in a pond and then the numerous ripples it creates. We all become so narrow focused on the attainment of reaching a goal that we can’t see beyond and I’m not certain what we would do if we could. It’s kind of like knowing our own mortality. Would we behave differently if we need the day, hour and minute that we would depart this world? Probably! The goals that I have worked hardest to achieve in my personal life and career, as long as my heart and head are 100% vested in them, always brought more benefits than I could have dreamed or seen. It is like walking through one door only to find multiple more doors waiting for you. The reason we begin a path or project and the ripple results are sometimes beyond comprehension. But, if we don’t have lofty dreams and goals in the first place then nothing can be achieved. How many grand projects have all of us started but not completed due to life getting in the way, health issues, time or other reasons? I still say we must dream big and shoot for the stars and go that extra mile to make them a reality. The team of brilliant minds at NASA could have given up along with President Kennedy. But if they had where would we be today with our computers, smart phones, TV sets, communication, vehicles and new technology plus smart cars? It is all thanks to the ripple effect of what they did in the 1960’s. So, what effect will your actions have for future generations or even your own family? I believe we all want to leave a mark in some way, but it may not be the mark that we hoped or thought we were reaching for – like the moon?