Monday, October 22, 2012

Reach for the moon or reach for the stars? [quote them]

Image copyright: NASA
There's this quote I've heard many times over now, and it goes something like this:
"Reach for the stars. If you fail, at least you'll land on the moon."
Then on one of the videos documenting Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking jump "from the edge of space" at supersonic speeds, I saw this:
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars."

Apparently, that last quote is originally from a guy named Les Brown, an American author and motivational speaker.

The two quotations are practically using the same words, but framed differently. Are they contradicting each other? I think, no, they're not. The first one asks you to strive to do the best you can. You might not become the best at that thing, but you'll still have achieved something significant if you do your best. The second one suggests to me that if you aim for something that is difficult to achieve, you'll be remembered as someone who tried to do something significant in his life. It's not in the quotation, but of course, there will be the naysayers and haters who will always tell you "Are you stupid or something? Why take the risk? You'll never get to the moon." But that's just what rock stars and billionaire entrepreneurs precisely have done. So yeah, if becoming a rock star or billionaire is not your thing, then don't go shoot for the moon. Otherwise, shoot for the moon.

I salute those people who shoot for the moon. There is a lot of uncertainty, and there is a lot of risk. But not a lot of great people stayed at home doing nothing great.

P.S. In light of some recent events, I should mention that some people take risks in the wrong direction - i.e. in the direction of great stupidity. What responsible lawmaker pushes for laws that restrict the freedom of the people he/she is supposedly serving, and that just simply allow people like him/her greater power over those people? Like Felix Baumgartner, you need to do a lot of studying, engineering, and preparatory work for every risk-taking. You don't go start or run a successful computer hardware and/or software company without knowing anything about computers, or at least know someone who is good at it and work with him. (e.g. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak earlier in Apple, and a team of superstars later in Apple's history.) In the same way, if you want your dream house to stand up against typhoons and earthquakes, you don't go to an incompetent person to build your dream house. Knowing who is incompetent and who is not is another skill you need to have. You could just be lazy and just leave your trust in someone who you're paying to do the job for you, but that's not shooting for the moon. That's wishful thinking. After all, to shoot for the moon, you need to build the right vehicle that will get you there first. If you can't build it yourself, you need to have the right people work with you. Shoot for the moon. Do it with the right people. Even if you miss, you will find yourself in the company of stars.

P.P.S. Another way to interpret the "shoot for the moon" quote is, if you aim for something and miss it, all that hard work and preparation will still get you somewhere -- farther.

1 comment:

  1. mas malayo nga pala yung stars kesa sa moon--your P.P.S. reminded me. haha.