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Iterating to the Moon

When we are young, we mistakenly believe that once an adult, we should and will have it all figured out. As if the grown-ups have known all along what they wanted to be when they grew up and they act upon this knowledge with grace and conviction.

Some do, I suppose, but turns out most don’t. In my case, it took 10 years and what feels like a trip to the moon and back to see what I believed should have been so clear all along. For a long time I lamented not having more clarity from the get go and resented the side tracks I made to get right tracked again. But not anymore, I now see it as case of simple iteration.

I recently made a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to show my two kids where my childhood dreams were born and hopefully light a spark in them, like the one that was lit in me by my late grandfather. I hoped they would be as mesmerized by science holding hands with adventure and how together they do a dangerous dance beyond the boundaries of our atmosphere.

Mercury…Gemini…Apollo 7…10…11…13…Shuttles…Stations…Mars…all of these experiments designed to advance the greater mission. Each one proving some hypotheses and disproving others. Some were viewed as successes, some successful failures, but all tested boundaries and broke through barriers. Each and every one iterations on the next…innovation perfected.

It is likely the experience lit a spark or two for the kids, only time will tell how significant. But as an adult, I took away something different this time. Along with the coolness of science, engineering and adventuring our way to a new future, I hoped they walked away with one simple truth.

Clarity of mission is essential, perfect execution is optional. With that, you can iterate yourself all the way to the moon.

Today’s post was inspired by good friend, kindred spirit, and fellow seeker, Clark Kellogg.

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